Manchester United finding David De Gea's replacement already?

Maurizio Sarri File

However, their 1-0 lead was erased after a howler from De Gea, who spilled an Antonio Rudiger shot into the path of Marcos Alonso, who made no mistake with the chance.

Yet they are still just two points off fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to go and have Brighton and Burnley left to play.

He can also forget about being named Manchester United's player of the year for the fifth time in six seasons, despite there being a dearth of alternatives.

Both are teams filled with experienced worldwide players, and elite managers who have been linked with the Chelsea job in the not too distant past.

They now sit fifth with 66 points, two behind fourth-placed Chelsea who cemented the spot after collecting a vital point at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

The draw to Chelsea all but ended United's Champions League hopes with the Red Devils three points off fourth spot.

If Manchester United fail to reach the top four, a lot of pressure will suddenly be placed on the club to ensure they keep their best players, which includes the Spain global (recent form aside).

When the score is 1-1, you don't want to concede but we showed that we wanted to go for the win because we were still getting players into the box, so I think in that sense we were a little unlucky not to get more out of the game. "We support each other", the manager said after the draw with Chelsea.

"But there's no chance any of us will point fingers because he's saved us so many times".

"Chelsea have to be in the Champions League".

Some of Manchester United's players fear that it could take two years to build a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title again.

After United's thumping 4-0 loss at Everton three days earlier - when De Gea arguably could have done more to stop long-range shots from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lucas Digne - he was back under the microscope after a poor showing against his side's city rivals.

His record over 360 games in the United goal is of no import anymore; it's only the last four matches that matter to the armchair managers who deal only in superlatives and absolutes.

He was back in the team within a few weeks and has hardly looked back.

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