Ferguson wants De Gea protection

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says he is looking for keeper David de Gea to get more protection from referees ahead of his side’s trip to Bolton Wanderers this Saturday.

The young Spaniard has endured a tough start to life in the Premier League, making a number of high-profile errors and looking particularly vulnerable to high balls in his first few outings between United's sticks.

Bolton captain Kevin Davies is known for his physical approach to the game and will almost certainly try to test the slight-framed De Gea in aerial challenges on Saturday, and Ferguson wants referee Andre Marriner to take a hard line with anyone who tries to intimidate his keeper.

"He is bound to get better protection than he did against West Brom [on the opening day of the season]," the United boss told reporters.

"There is nothing wrong with that. That is part of the challenge. Each game that comes along is a new experience for him.

"He actually did very well at West Brom in the sense of dealing with it but he didn't get the protection from the referee at the time.

"We expect him to get better protection than that."

By Liam Twomey