Home » Jose Mourinho confirms he could play Axel Tuanzebe against Anderlecht

Jose Mourinho confirms he could play Axel Tuanzebe against Anderlecht

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has revealed that he could use Axel Tuanzebe during Manchester United’s second leg clash with Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final on Thursday.

Tuanzebe was handed his senior debut earlier this year, coming on during the second half of an FA Cup fourth round 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic and impressing at right back.

The 54-year-old will be wary of the energy levels of Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly – his only recognised options at centre-back following ‘long term’ injuries to Chris Smalling and Phil jones – ahead of the clash with Rene Weiler’s side.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Mourinho noted that Tuanzebe was very much in his thinking ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford.

“I was not disappointed with Zlatan, I was disappointed with the team. The team had the game in their hands and did not kill the game. We could be speaking now about a friendly game tomorrow if we won 3-0 in Anderlecht,” he said.

“Tomorrow could be a nice game, and the chance to play Axel Tuanzebe, and some of the other young ones without any kind of pressure.

“The game was easy to cure, and we did not.”

It should be noted firstly that Mourinho is speaking somewhat hypothetically here. He is making a point of how United should have killed the tie in Belgium and, in turn, give Tuanzebe the perfect platform (a “nice game,” as Mourinho says) from which to make his first start at Old Trafford.

As it stands, however, United still have plenty of work to do against Anderlecht, reducing Tuanzebe’s chances of featuring from the start. Supporters will hope to see him emerge later in the game, preferably with a semi-final place booked following a more prolific display than what was seen last week.

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