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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has come to the defense of Andre Onana, asserting that he is the “second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League.”

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Onana has faced considerable scrutiny since his summer transfer from Inter to Manchester United, taking over the starting goalkeeper position from the out-of-contract David de Gea. The Cameroon international has been criticized for several goals conceded by United this season, including two Hakim Ziyech free-kicks during a 3-3 draw at Galatasaray in the Champions League.

Ahead of United’s match against Newcastle, Ten Hag addressed questions about his faith in Onana and relied on statistics to support his argument for retaining the goalkeeper in the starting lineup.

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“If you analyze it well, then you see he is the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats, so his expected defending goals are the second best in the Premier League,” stated Ten Hag.

The statistic Ten Hag refers to is expected goals prevented, calculated by subtracting goals conceded from expected goals on target. Opta ranks Onana second in the Premier League this season with 3.67 goals prevented, with Luton’s Thomas Kaminski leading with 6.3.

However, Onana has recorded the highest number of errors leading to shots among Champions League goalkeepers this season, with four in just five games.

Ten Hag acknowledged, “He’s doing well. Also, he knows that in the Champions League, he makes some mistakes, but overall, you see in the first five months, he is doing particularly well. You have seen how he reacted to a bad performance like in Munich [where United lost 4-3]. At Burnley [in which United won 1-0], he was outstanding. He is a strong character, he is a personality, and he will deal with it.”

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