Sunday 24 February 2019

Hierro: 'Lay off De Gea'

Group B: Spain v Iran, live: RTE2/ITV (ko 7.0)

David de Gea
David de Gea

Spain's under-pressure goalkeeper David de Gea has the backing of coach Fernando Hierro, who said he will stick by him for his side's next game against Iran this evening despite his performance in the 3-3 draw with Portugal.

The Manchester United keeper let a tame shot from Cristiano Ronaldo through his arms for Portugal's second goal on Friday and has been criticised in Spain for his badly positioned defensive wall when Ronaldo struck the late equaliser.

"We have our full confidence in him, I know very clearly from experience that footballers need to feel confidence, not just in the good times," Spain's interim coach Hierro said.

"He's had difficult moments but you can get over everything with time. Goalkeepers have a special psychology, and sometimes action-reaction is not enough. De Gea needs time and oxygen," added Hierro.

"All players need confidence and I'm going to give that to them. De Gea has taken everything naturally, we have to get used to debate because it's part of the job. No-one has given him anything for free, and we need to be fair with him."

Midfielder Isco added: "De Gea is one of the best in the world, he knows how to react."

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