Manchester United's Darren Fletcher backs goalkeeper David de Gea

David de Gea: Manchester United goalkeeper blundered against Sunderland

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Darren Fletcher has leapt to the defence of Manchester United keeper David de Gea after his extra-time howler gifted Sunderland the lead in the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.

Although Javier Hernandez equalised for the Reds in the closing seconds, the Black Cats went on to win the subsequent penalty shoot-out and book their spot in the Wembley final.

The 23-year-old Spaniard allowed a routine Phil Bardsley shot to slip through his hands and into the net with United on the brink of setting up a final showdown with Manchester City.

The former Atletico Madrid player moved to United in the summer of 2011 and has been one of the club's best performers this season.

But he will want to forget Wednesday's error and Fletcher has jumped to the defence of his unfortunate team-mate, saying: "David will be fine.

"He has been fantastic for us. There has not been a better goalkeeper around for the last 18 months.

"He has been one of the most positive things about this season.

"He is disappointed but all goalkeepers make mistakes and he will show what a top goalkeeper he is."

As for losing the shoot-out, the Scotland international added: "Penalties are a lottery but we should still be disappointed with our execution of them.

"We had the momentum going into the penalties but it didn't pan out the way.

"At Old Trafford, to only score one is disappointing, there is no denying that."

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