Chris Smalling impressed by Sergio Romero's debut

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Chris Smalling feels Sergio Romero took to the task of replacing David de Gea with ease on his Manchester United debut against Tottenham.

De Gea had to watch United's 1-0 win over Spurs from the stands because manager Louis van Gaal claimed the Spaniard was not in the right frame of mind to play due to a summer of speculation linking him with Real Madrid.

Romero, 28, signed for United on a free transfer just two weeks ago, but he put in a crucial block on Kyle Walker in the first half and saved twice from Christian Eriksen at the death to give United a winning start to the campaign.


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"I think Sergio looked the part," Smalling told MUTV.

"He came out and commanded his box, which is what you want behind you as a defender because, when you've got a goalkeeper who comes out with that presence, it mops up a lot of the danger."

There was one hairy moment in the first half when Romero put Morgan Schneiderlin in danger with a poor pass, but otherwise Van Gaal could not find fault with the Argentinian's performance.

The Dutchman maintains he made the right decision in axing De Gea, who watched from the directors box next to unwanted goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

"You have seen that he (Romero) can play very good," Van Gaal said.

"He saved us two times. You have also seen that his building-up was not so good, but that's logical because he's not been here long and he has only played with these players in training.

"We trained until Tuesday or Wednesday with David de Gea (in goal).

"I wanted to keep him in the line-up but in the end we decided not to do that because the goalkeeper's position is more about concentration and focus than any other position, I think."

Walker inadvertently handed United the win when he stabbed the ball past Michel Vorm during a rapid counter from the hosts in the 22nd minute.

It would have been a different story had Eriksen converted a good chance early on when he was played through by Harry Kane.

The Dane was not too disheartened after the final whistle and is predicting a good season for Spurs.

"We were unlucky in my opinion," the Spurs midfielder told the club's website.

"But I think with the way we played, especially the way we started, gives us some positive things to take away with us.

"We created chances, especially in the first 20 minutes, and if we play like that every game we'll win a lot of matches."

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Chris Smalling
Premier League
Manchester United

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