Sir Alex Ferguson has lavished praise on goalkeeper David de Gea for his display in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Real Madrid on Wednesday night.

The Spaniard has been under fire this season for his inconsistent displays but he made a number of top quality saves at Santiago Bernabeu as the Red Devils took a positive result back to Old Trafford.

Ferguson singled De Gea out for one particular save early in the game where he managed to get his fingertips on a Fabio Coentrão shot an turn it onto the post.

It was the best of a number of good saves in a first half that Jose Mourinho’s side dominated, especially after former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo’s terrific header cancelled out Danny Welbeck’s opener.

Ferguson was doubly pleased for De Gea because of his history as an Atletico Madrid player and insisted the 22-year-old was steadily improving.

“He (De Gea) has been improving all season. There was one save in the first half which he touched on to the post, it was superb,” said the Scot.

"I'm pleased for him because he's a former Atletico boy playing here in Madrid. He has done well. Before the game we would have taken 1-1 without question.”

Manchester United had chances to win a game they seemed content to hold out in as it headed for a draw.

Welbeck missed a good chance for his second, while the unusually subdued Robin van Persie managed to force two good saves out of Real Madrid ‘keeper Diego Lopez and miss-hit a volley just ten yards out and only Lopez to beat.

However, the managed to get a vital away goal and will be confident of progressing after the second leg at Old Trafford on Tuesday March 5.


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