The 21-year-old had to deal with criticism from pundits as well as fans upon his transfer from Atletico Madrid for not living up to expectations after conceding a long range goal from Edin Dzeko in his first competitive game.
Eyebrows were raised further after blunders against West Brom, FC Basel, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool, leaving many to ask whether Sir Alex Ferguson had made the right choice for Edwin Van Der Sar’s replacement.
But a dramatic change in form has seen him move into that esteemed group of the Premier League’s elite goalkeepers and the Spaniard has United fans to thank.
De Gea told ManUtd.com:
“It is always a positive when the fans are behind you. It is something I can sense when I am out there on the field.
“It always helps you feel more relaxed and it is a source of extra motivation when you know the fans are right behind you and rooting for you.
“But all that aside, it is just a case of getting your head down, keep working hard and making sure you do have a continuous improvement all the time.”
De Gea also recalls the superb save at Chelsea as the defining moment from his personal point of view. He said:
“When you look back over a season there are lots of defining moments and key goals. But, I suppose, from a team point of view, and particularly from a personal point of view, the fact the save (at Chelsea) was right in the last minute was decisive. Possibly it gave me a huge confidence boost as well. From a personal perspective that was important.”
About the difference between the English and Spanish league, De Gea said:
“Football-wise there are not too many differences. The style is not too dissimilar although it is maybe slightly more aggressive in this country. People are aware I have been trying to gain a little bit of weight in terms of muscle, maybe an odd kilo to bulk up a little bit. But the concentration levels are the same. You can’t let your concentration levels drop for a second. So football-wise it is not so different.”