David de Gea has emphasised the importance of claiming the first goal ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho’s men head into the game ahead of Spurs in second only on goal difference following their 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield last weekend.
Eric Bailly and Phil Jones look set to return to the starting line-up, while Harry Kane, Spurs’ star man, will miss the game with a hamstring problem.
And De Gea, speaking to the official match programme, encouraged his teammates to take the initiative early on and avoid making costly mistakes.
“The first goal will be hugely important. Get the first goal and then try to dominate the game, keep hold of the ball and have plenty of possession – that will be very important,” he said.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a very even game, a tough game where things will be tight. But we are at home in front of our own fans and we can’t afford any more slip-ups. We need to get the win to keep ourselves right up there near the top.”
Man United cannot let a Kane-deprived Spurs side settle early on. They have been rightly criticised for their lack of attacking stimulus over the international break and going for the jugular of a side currently scoring for run, forcing them to spend the first 20 minutes primarily in their own half, would be the perfect response on their return to Old Trafford.
This is a Spurs side capable of picking you off in emphatic fashion but their confidence in games can be dented – something magnified by the League Cup defeat to West Ham United – and Mourinho, especially with Spurs’ star man missing, has a superb chance to make life extremely awkward for the visitors.