Belgium goalkeeper coach Erwin Lemmens believes Thibaut Courtois is suffering a similar slump to the one endured by David de Gea last season – but backed the Real Madrid stopper to bounce back.
Courtois bore the brunt of criticism from fans and the media for Real Madrid’s surprise 2-2 draw at home to Club Bruges in the Champions League on Tuesday, opening up a debate over whether he should be the club’s No.1 goalkeeper
The Belgium keeper is yet to endear himself to Real supporters since joining last year and gave one of his shakiest displays against the unfancied Bruges, who took a 2-0 lead at half-time with scrappy strikes from Emmanuel Bonaventure.
Courtois, 27, was taken off immediately after the break, with coach Zinedine Zidane saying he was feeling ill, and his replacement Alphonse Areola kept Real in the game with a crucial save to help them bounce back and secure a point.
“He’s a special boy and it’s unusual that he’s always at the highest level with Belgium, but there he suffers with De Gea syndrome.
“If the Bernabeu whistles then you have to look at the team as a whole.
He’s a great goalkeeper and he’ll try to make Real Madrid happy again.”
The Belgian was heavily scrutinised by the Spanish press, with newspaper AS claiming ‘Courtois hits rock bottom’. Daily Marca focused on the booing he was subjected to, saying the keeper ‘has a big problem with the Bernabeu’.
Zidane did his best to protect Courtois after the game.
“I’m not worried at all, we cannot blame Thibaut for the first half because we were all at fault, especially me,” he told a news conference.
“If we had continued to play that way we would have lost the game, but luckily the players turned things around.”