Erik ten Hag came to the defense of goalkeeper Andre Onana on Friday, asserting that the Cameroonian's statistics position him as one of the Premier League's top performers.
Onana has faced criticism for high-profile errors in the Champions League, putting Manchester United on the verge of a group stage exit. In a 3-3 draw against Galatasaray, he was culpable for two Hakim Ziyech free-kicks, contributing to United conceding 14 goals in five Champions League games.
However, in the Premier League, Onana has let in only 16 goals in 13 matches, a marked contrast. Ten Hag highlighted statistics showing that the former Ajax goalkeeper ranks second in the English top flight for saves made, save percentage, and goals prevented.
"In analysing it thoroughly, you can see that he is the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats," said Ten Hag, who supported Onana's signing for £47 million ($59 million) from Inter Milan in July.
Despite Onana's occasional errors in the Champions League, Ten Hag emphasised his overall strong performance in the first five months. As United face a tough test against Newcastle on Saturday, Ten Hag dismissed any speculation about Onana's position in the side being under threat.
"He is a strong character, he is a personality, and he will deal with it," Ten Hag affirmed, referencing Onana's resilience after a subpar performance against Bayern Munich.
While United's recent Premier League resurgence has lifted them to sixth in the table, Ten Hag acknowledged the need for improvement against stronger opponents. He recognized the challenge posed by Newcastle's organized style of play and expressed respect for them, emphasizing the importance of rising to the occasion and delivering their best performance.