David Moyes defended his decision to send Mark Noble on for a last-minute penalty after his miss cost West Ham a point against Manchester United.
With the Hammers trailing 2-1, club captain Noble, their Mr Reliable from the spot, was summoned from the bench by Moyes to take the penalty after Luke Shaw handled in the area.
Noble had not missed a penalty since December 2016, remarkably eight months after De Gea last saved one – some 40 spot-kicks ago.
But the long-serving midfielder, who retires at the end of the season, was denied his moment of glory when De Gea dived to his left to claw out his effort.
Sky Sports pundits Roy Keane and Graeme Souness criticised the decision, saying the player was neither warmed up nor up to speed with the game.
But Moyes insisted: “Do I regret it? Not at all. That’s what happens in management, you have to make big decisions. Sometimes they go for you, sometimes they don’t.
“I just thought, we have a really good penalty-taker on the bench. We had time to think about it, time to make the choice. I’d have been more disappointed if I hadn’t made the decision. Because of his record I felt he’d be most suited to take it. If one of the other players had taken it and missed I’d have thought, ‘why didn’t I bring Mark Noble on’?
“He has an incredibly good record on penalties. So with Mark going on, and De Gea not saving many, I’m hoping that is the equaliser.”
Even United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feared the worst when he saw Noble come on.
“I’ve seen Noble score so many penalties, so you feel down and out and expect to come home with a point,” he said. “But luckily David has continued his fine form.”
To rub salt in West Ham's wounds it was another substitute, Jesse Lingard, who scored what turned out to be the winner.
Lingard, who starred for the Hammers on loan last season, curled home a superb shot two minutes from time.
Moyes, who wanted to resign the England winger this summer, added: "It just shows you always get a second chance. Jesse made a mistake which probably cost United in midweek [in their Champions League defeat to Young Boys].
“He also got a second chance when he came back at West Ham and we’ll always be grateful. I wish he hadn’t scored, but we still had a chance to get a draw.”
West Ham had taken the lead through Said Benrahma’s deflected strike, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s fourth goal in three matches sent United in at half time level at 1-1.
Solskjaer felt Ronaldo was denied two clear penalties when he tumbled under challenges from Vladimir Coufal and Kurt Zouma.
“Of course we’re very happy with the win and I felt we deserved it,” he added although their momentum had slowed before the winner and West Ham, less than 72 hours after facing Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, seemed worthy of a point.
For Moyes that was the silver lining. “We’ve tried to go toe to toe with Man United today as much as we could, and made a decent account of ourselves,” he said.
Solksjaer said: “We played some good football and created some good chances, and Cristiano should have had two penalties, but luckily David saved that penalty at the end.”
Solskjær could enjoy Lingard's contribution particularly as his loppy back-pass had caused their midweek defeat at Young Boys.
“Jesse was quite clear he wanted to fight for his place and be part of a United team he thinks is going places,” the manager said. “I’m so happy and pleased for him. He’s becoming a grown man and he’s a very good player.”
Solskjær confirmed Lingard will start on Wednesday, when these sides meet again in the League Cup at Old Trafford.