De Gea has regularly come in for criticism since moving to Old Trafford in 2011 and his future has been called into question after he was widely accused of costing United victory against Tottenham on Sunday.
Schmeichel, however, insists the 22-year-old is being unfairly singled out.
“I think the criticism is unwarranted,” the former Red Devils number one told Hawksbee and Jacobs.
“We do concede far too many goals but we need to look at where we are defending from. We have a tendency to drop far too deep. We are inside the box far too much and we should be outside the box.
“Look at the goal we conceded in the Capital One Cup tie against Chelsea, in the 94th minute, and the two goals we conceded against West Ham in the FA Cup.
"The Capital One Cup goal was a 50-yard pass into the box but our starting point was on the penalty box. So, whatever happens, if the ball is deflected or stays on the same line, which it did, you might end up giving the opposition a chance and it so happened that we ended up giving a penalty.
“If we had been in the right position, a yard or two outside the box, at worst that would have been a free-kick outside the box. So, in the 94th minute, we would have been defending a free-kick outside the box rather than a penalty and I would take the odds on the free-kick outside the box.
“Manchester United have always defended high but we are not doing that now. Again, look at the two goals that James Collins scored for West Ham in the FA Cup.
“Joe Cole is unchallenged when he puts the ball in the box and it’s only just reaching the penalty spot but Collins gets a free run of two or three yards, so he gets momentum on his body, and everybody else is stood still in there.
“The odds are that someone who is running towards the ball will win it and it only takes a touch on the ball to take it either side of the goalkeeper. But had we been in the right position further up, Collins would have had to head the ball from the 18-yard line and who is going to score with a header from the 18-yard line? No-one. This is my point.
“We can all say De Gea should have punched the ball out for a corner, or further away against Tottenham, but in fact he did well just to punch the ball because he was so under pressure. The guy who got the ball was unmarked, [Clint] Dempsey was unmarked, and this all comes from defending too deep.
“Gradually throughout the second half [against Tottenham] we dropped deeper and deeper and deeper, invited more balls to come in the box, and David de Gea actually had to make far too many saves, for my liking, to keep the team in the game. For me, that is what needs to be addressed, not what the goalkeeper is doing when he is punching balls.”
Peter Schmeichel was talking with us ahead of the Manchester United Foundation’s inaugural Dancing with United event which is taking place on 7th March 2013
The Manchester United Foundation works in disadvantaged areas across Manchester, Salford and Trafford to deliver football coaching, skills training, personal development and life changing experiences, providing young people with opportunities to change their lives for the better.
Find out more: www.mufoundation.org