For David De Gea, criticism over his performances since succeeding Edwin van der Sar are all part and parcel of a new life at Old Trafford. The Spanish keeper had an underwhelming start to his Manchester United career, with Sir Alex Ferguson chopping and changing between De Gea and second-choice Anders Lindegaard, seemingly unable to decide which his first-choice between the sticks was.

But a string of impressive recent performances from De Gea seems to have solidified Ferguson's faith in the £17.5m man from Madrid, and the player himself admits his manager's belief has given him a much needed confidence boost ahead of a hectic title run-in.

"I did receive one or two bits of criticism at the start of the season," De Gea said. "I think it only serves to make you a stronger person, though. It encourages you to keep fighting and keep working hard. The important thing is to not let yourself get down," De Gea told the official Manchester United Web site.

And De Gea, recent recipient of the club's February player of the month award, envisions a bright future for himself at Manchester United and insists he has the strength and resolve to improve even further in the coming months.

"It can almost be a positive thing. You can turn it around. I waited for my chance and I've grabbed it. Now, fortunately, I'm showing some good form," the Manchester United keeper added.

"Let's just hope this good form can continue right the way through to the end of the season."

"The time I spent on the bench, when I was out of the side, that was a time when I could reflect. I could think hard, regroup and start working even harder to come out of that spell.

"It made me more determined, so when I did get my opportunity back in the side I grabbed it with both hands. Obviously, the thing now is to keep up this form. One slight slip-up and there are quality players waiting in the wings to grab their opportunity."