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Richard Jolly profile picture Posted by Richard Jolly
Apr 2, 2014

De Gea: United-Bayern tie is wide open

The ESPN FC team discusses Man United's surprising draw against Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarterfinal first leg.

David de Gea has told UEFA.com that Manchester United stood up to be counted and produced a performance when it mattered most in their 1-1 Champions League quarterfinal first-leg draw against Bayern Munich.

De Gea has been one of United's top performers this season.
David de Gea has played in every league and European game for Man Utd this season.

• Okwonga: A Battling draw
• Jolly: Moyes prospers

The Spanish goalkeeper feels the Red Devils proved their mettle against the European champions, and the 23-year-old was pleased they confounded expectations that Pep Guardiola's side would stroll to victory at Old Trafford.

United, who are seventh in the Premier League, were underdogs after enduring a difficult season, but De Gea was delighted with their response against the Bundesliga winners.

"This is a big club and at difficult moments is when you stand up and show people how big you are," he said. "I am pleased with that -- people thought it was going to be easy for Bayern and we have produced a big performance. We are satisfied.

"We feel we played really well -- it was a big effort against a very strong opponent. We might even have won.

"We knew we had to defend well, shut down the spaces and hit them on the counterattack and we had some clear chances. Defensively we were good, we kept it tight. I think we unsettled them."

De Gea believes United can put their poor domestic form behind them to give Bayern -- who have only lost twice in a year -- another difficult game in the Allianz Arena.

"They're two different competitions and things haven't gone well in the league but the Champions League is a special competition, the team are doing really well and we have to go for it," he continued.

"I think we have a chance over there -- the tie is in the balance, it's wide open and we'll fight till the end."

United boss David Moyes hailed his patched-up team after the 1-1 draw, with injuries before and during the game complicating his tactics against Guardiola's side.

United were without four defenders beforehand, with Patrice Evra suspended and Rafael da Silva, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling all injured.

However, Moyes had to switch his defence around again when Alexander Buttner limped off, meaning Phil Jones went to left-back and winger Antonio Valencia dropped into the back four.

But Moyes, who was "delighted" with his side’s performance, told his postmatch press conference: "We defended really well when we needed to. We were short of defenders. We were patched up, Alex Buttner had to come off and we had to find another way.

"We had to defend well because they have good attacking players. They had possession but we always knew that would be the case. It was always going to be tough for us."

Bayern had the ball for 75 percent of the game at Old Trafford but Moyes felt United, who took the lead through a second-half header from captain Nemanja Vidic, could have scored more goals.

Danny Welbeck had a third-minute strike controversially chalked off and Moyes said: "I am hearing it was for a high boot."

The England international had a second chance when he tried to chip Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and failed to beat him, and Moyes says the striker needs to finish such opportunities against top opposition.

"It was a great chance," Moyes added. "It was very good goalkeeping as well. He stood up, the goalkeeper, but it was a great opportunity at that time of the game.

"At this level of football you do need to be clinical and when you get a chance you need to take them."

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