Leeds United: ‘Massive rivalry’ between us, says Manchester United star

David De Gea knows all about Manchester United’s “massive rivalry” with Leeds and is determined to cap his first Elland Road appearance with another key win in their Champions League qualification quest.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. Photo: Tim Keeton/PA Wire.
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. Photo: Tim Keeton/PA Wire.

A standout performer in a disappointing season at Old Trafford, the 31-year-old is on course to win the club’s player of the year award for the fifth time since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011.

The in-form goalkeeper produced another superb display as United recovered from a shaky first-half display to beat Brighton 2-0 on Tuesday, moving them up to fourth in the Premier League ahead of this weekend’s eagerly anticipated trip to Leeds.

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The long-serving Spain international has faced Marcelo Bielsa’s men twice at Old Trafford but has never played at Elland Road, having been an unused substitute in the Red Devils’ only two trips there since he joined the club.

“I know it’s a massive rivalry between the teams,” De Gea said.

“It’s going to be a tough game, especially away against Leeds: good team, difficult team, different team.

“But we have to win this game as well to be in the top four and hopefully we can go there and win.”

Such is the importance of the fixture that De Gea says he is not even thinking about next week’s reunion with former club Atletico in the Champions League.

“Yeah (it is a special match), but my mind at the moment is just about Leeds,” he said.

“Prepare well for the game, be ready for the game and this is the most important things - not just for me for but the team to be ready for Leeds.”

United’s mentality will be key at Leeds and in the weeks to come if they are to keep alive their hopes of winning this year’s Champions League and qualifying for the competition next term.

“We should be fighting for more better things than we are doing at the moment,” De Gea said. “But it’s realistic that we are fighting for the top four. This is the objective. Finishing in the top four is very important for us.”