Sir Alex Ferguson wants more protection for David de Gea

Sir Alex Ferguson wants referee Andre Marriner to give his Manchester United keeper David de Gea adequate protection against Bolton on Saturday.

De Gea, 20, struggled under the high ball on his debut at West Brom.

Bolton play a more free-flowing game under manager Owen Coyle than they did in previous years, but they do possess the aerial threat of Kevin Davies.

"He [De Gea] is bound to get better protection than he did against West Brom," said United boss Ferguson.

"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."

Spain Under-21 keeper De Gea appeared weak when balls were floated into the box during the opening-day victory at The Hawthorns.

De Gea was also criticised for failing to get down to low shots after long-range goals from West Brom's Shane Long and Manchester City's Edin Dzeko, the latter in the Community Shield.

Despite his errors though, United beat City 3-2 to win at Wembley, while they opened their Premier League defence with a 2-1 win over the Baggies.

And Bolton manager Owen Coyle does not view the youngster as a weak link.

"David de Gea is a top goalkeeper - there is no doubt about it," said Coyle.

"With Manchester United, it is difficult to find any weaknesses, but my focus will be on making sure my group are at their best.

"We know as long as we get to our maximum that we can sleep well at night.

"What we don't want to do is be below that - it leaves that bad taste in your mouth, so I will be stressing to my group that we have to get to our best."

Meanwhile, Ferguson has revealed that striker Danny Welbeck's hamstring injury is not as bad as was first feared.

The England forward picked up the problem while scoring United's first goal in the 8-2 demolition of Arsenal two weeks ago.

"Danny is making good progress," said Ferguson. "The injury is not as bad as we thought and he should be training next week."