De Gea has been subjected to enormous criticism throughout his short Red Devils career.
Prior to last night's 1-1 draw with Real Madrid, Sir Alex Ferguson likened the 22-year-old's development to a toddler learning how to walk.
Well, he was certainly walking tall in the Bernabeu, making a string of fine saves, including one with his feet, to ensure United grabbed the draw which makes them slight favourites to progress.
But De Gea knows the job is only half done. And he is expecting it to be equally tough in the second leg at Old Trafford on March 5.
"The party is not over," he said. "We are talking about Real Madrid, one of the world's best. They still have to come to us.
Portugal star Fabio Coentrao had a curling shot tipped onto the post in the opening minutes and was also denied in the second half at the far post. On that occasion, De Gea saved with his feet, proving yet again that while a packed Premier League penalty area might not be to his linking, in pure shot-stopping terms he is up there with the very best.
"It all happened so fast," De Gea said. "I got across and was lucky enough to save it with my feet.
"Overall, I am very happy with my performance. I am improving every at Old Trafford and I am very happy."