Donnarumma backed after blunder as Galtier rules out PSG keeper rotation

·3-min read

Gianluigi Donnarumma remains the clear first-choice goalkeeper at Paris Saint-Germain, coach Christophe Galtier indicated on Friday as he defended the error-prone Italian.

On the eve of a Ligue 1 clash with Brest, Galtier was asked whether he might consider rotating his keepers and give veteran Keylor Navas a fresh chance to stake a claim.

Donnarumma was exposed in PSG's Champions League game against Juventus on Tuesday, when Galtier said it was forgetfulness that led to the visitors pulling back to 2-1 early in the second half.

From a short corner routine on the left, Filip Kostic crossed into the heart of the penalty area and Donnarumma came for the ball but failed to get close, allowing Weston McKennie the chance to head into a near-unguarded net.

The goal came just moments after Kylian Mbappe threatened to put PSG 3-0 up but shot into the side-netting, with strike partner Neymar crying out for a pass.

PSG did not concede again, so it was an error that did not prove too costly on the night, and Galtier is determined to back the 23-year-old Donnarumma.

"There will not be rotation in the goalkeeping position," said the former Lille, Nice and Saint-Etienne boss.

"We often forget that Gianluigi Donnarumma is still a young goalkeeper, even if he has been playing for quite a while. He often forgets that things can happen from a corner, and he misjudged it the other day, but he also made two brilliant saves. Of course, I've spoken to him about it.

"I always hope to have a goalkeeper who comes out for set-pieces and is very present in the box. He has the physique, technical quality, the jumping ability, so I don't want that mistake from a corner to stop him doing what I want to see from him."

Donnarumma was a European Championship winner with Italy last year, but he has a howler in him. Since joining PSG as a free agent in July 2021, the former Milan keeper has played 32 games and committed four errors leading to shots, two of which have cost his team a goal.

That is certainly not the worst record among goalkeepers from Europe's top five leagues, with 13 making more errors resulting in shots and 21 conceding more goals through mistakes since August 1, 2021.

However, it is far from the very elite level, with Manchester City's Ederson one of six goalkeepers with 30 or more appearances across all competitions to make no errors leading to a shot or goal.

Navas, the 35-year-old now serving as deputy, has made just one error, which led to a goal, across 26 appearances during Donnarumma's time in Paris.

The goalkeepers were rotated last season by Mauricio Pochettino, but that policy has been shelved by new boss Galtier.

It is seemingly only the goalkeeping role that Galtier is not inclined to switch around from game to game, as he said on Friday that others will be coming in and out of the team in the coming weeks, as PSG contend with Ligue 1 and Champions League commitments.

"I don't like the work rotation, but we need freshness," Galtier said. "That will happen automatically because I have a squad that is ready and available with quality. We will need freshness, so the team can continue to perform well."