Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe revealed that Jose Mourinho gave him just one job on Sunday against Arsenal – to look after Alexis Sanchez.
The 19-year-old started at right-back for José Mourinho’s side during their 2-0 away defeat at the Emirates. Tasked with containing Alexis Sánchez’s threat on the flank, he delivered a solid defensive shift against Arsenal’s talisman – reducing him to half-chances during the 90 minutes.
He discussed his experience with MUTV post-match, admitting that his excitement was mixed with disappointment given the result.
“At first, you see all the fans and you think ‘flipping heck’ but when the game starts, you lose yourself in it and concentrate on doing your job,” he said.
“The manager gave me one task: to stay with him [Alexis], and I seemed to do that quite well but again, we didn’t win so it doesn’t count as much.
“But it’s good to have the opportunity to play – the manager gives you a job and you have to show he can trust you for future games.”
Tuanzebe, captain of the u23 side, has made 20 appearances under Nicky Butt this season. His first senior chance came during United’s 4-0 FA Cup fourth-round win over Wigan in January.
“You don’t have a time where you’re ready to play – you just have to be thrown into the deep end and if you can cope, you know you have confidence and you can fall back on it and think ‘yeah, I’ve played like that before and I can do it again,” the youngster stated.
Tuanzebe’s match statistics (per WhoScored):
– 56 touches, 42 passes with 81% accuracy
– Five completed tackles, three interceptions and three clearances
United’s defensive showing came under scrutiny but Tuanzebe was one of few positives, which will undoubtedly give him confidence for future matches.