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‘Lightning quick’: Benni McCarthy says Man United were ‘super excited’ to sign £47m man

Benni McCarthy quickly realized he was in for a tough conversation when interviewed by a South African radio station about Manchester United’s recent season.

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During the interview, the former FC Porto and Blackburn Rovers striker was asked whether Erik ten Hag had lost the dressing room and what the arrival of Ineos might mean for his own future with the Premier League giants.

When the discussion turned to a particular member of the Manchester United squad, McCarthy found himself defending a player one caller harshly described as having had a ‘very terrible’ 2023/24 campaign.

Manchester United Coach Praises Andre Onana’s Impact

The ‘error-prone’ label can be tough to shake off, but if any game summarized Andre Onana’s debut season at Old Trafford, it was the FA Cup final victory over Manchester City.

Yes, Onana should have saved Jeremy Doku’s late shot, but without the Cameroonian’s quick reflexes and unshakeable confidence, United might have faced a defeat instead of celebrating a win. Onana made brilliant saves from Kyle Walker and eased the pressure with several excellent high claims.

There is room for improvement and some issues to address, but considering what David de Gea had become towards the end of his United career, Onana represents an upgrade in many areas, from commanding the penalty area to his bravery and distribution skills.

“It’s tough for anyone joining a club like Manchester United. It’s an institution,” McCarthy, United’s forward coach, told 947 Joburg. “There’s so much to prove with all the great goalkeepers and players who have played for the club.”

Onana had a difficult start with some high-profile mistakes, particularly during the Champions League group stage. However, it’s worth remembering that even legends like De Gea and Peter Schmeichel made early errors at United. McCarthy believes that once Onana settles into Premier League life, his critics will soon become his fans.

Ten Hag’s Decision to Swap De Gea for Onana

“Andre is the first African goalkeeper to play for Manchester United. The manager knew him from Ajax and was aware of his qualities,” McCarthy said, emphasizing Ten Hag’s role in bringing Onana to England.

“It was a managerial choice. Yes, everyone loved David. He was iconic for the club with an unbelievable history. But when your time is up, it’s up.”

The manager wanted a change and chose to bring in a goalkeeper who he knew well and who is excellent with his feet. This decision was influenced by Onana’s performance in the Champions League final for Inter Milan.

“Everyone was excited about Onana’s arrival. His ability and quality are evident in training every day,” added McCarthy, whose future with United is uncertain as Ineos considers changes in the coaching staff.

“He is lightning quick under the sticks. But lapses in concentration can be costly at this level. Despite this, he’s a phenomenal goalkeeper and will get better once he’s fully settled.”

“People will learn to appreciate what we see every day,” McCarthy concluded.

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