Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits Dean Henderson is not the most patient of players to manage as he prepares to return to the Manchester United side.
De Gea, 30, was criticised for his performance in the galling 3-3 draw with Everton on Saturday and United have the worst defensive record of the top 10 in the Premier League.
Henderson signed a five-year contract with United in the summer but he has become a cup specialist, starting in all six domestic cup ties this season. The England international is expected to line up in the FA Cup fifth round visit of West Ham on Tuesday night but it remains to be seen whether Henderson will line up at West Brom in the Premier League on Sunday.
“Dean has done very well when he’s got the chance and he’s matured,” Solskjaer said. “For me, he’s developed his game.
“I know he’s not played as many games as he would’ve done last season, but you see every game when he plays and in training his improvement, working hard on a couple of aspects that we’ve spoken about with him. I’ve been impressed with his attitude and work-rate.
“Of course he’s, how to say… he’s not the most patient guy. He wants to play every game because he knows that he’ll perform well, so long may it continue because he’s improved since he’s come here.”
United are bidding to end a four-year trophy drought but have won one of their last four league fixtures and Manchester City are now five points clear at the Premier League summit with a game in hand.
The FA Cup or the Europa League arguably represent United’s best chance of silverware and they are aiming to go one better in the FA Cup than last season after their semi-final surrender to Chelsea.
“Well, of course a trophy is always what you’re aiming for,” Solskjaer reiterated. “You want to win every single competition – FA Cup, Europa League, every game you play, the Premier League. And that’s the ultimate challenge and a test for a team to go all the way.
“We’ve improved, we’ve had a plan in place and I think the team is getting better and better. Last season’s semi-final, disappointing to lose that one, of course, and you want to go all the way and you want to lift a trophy.
“That’s not the be all and end all, of course it isn’t. It’s the bread and butter in the Premier League that is also a measure of how good a team is.
“To get to a final, sometimes you’re lucky with a draw. But to win a final then all the good teams have been beaten, so that’s the next step for us in the development of this team is to go all the way in a competition.”