Axel Tuanzebe and Neymar, Man Utd v PSG
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Solskjaer backs Tuanzebe for the top as ‘unbelievable performance’ keeps Neymar and Mbappe quiet

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Axel Tuanzebe to become a ‘top player’ for Manchester United following the defender’s ‘unbelievable performance’ in the club’s win at Paris Saint-Germain.

Manchester United began their Champions League campaign with an impressive performance to defeat last season’s runners-up in the French capital, Marcus Rashford’s late goal sealing a 2-1 victory after an Anthony Martial own goal had cancelled out Bruno Fernandes’ opener from a retaken penalty.

It was a much-improved display from the Red Devils following a difficult start to the season and came despite several injuries to key players, with young defender Tuanzebe starring on his first appearance in 10 months following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Solskjaer was full of praise for the 22-year-old who helped marshal a back three formation deployed at the Parc des Princes and the United boss has backed the centre-back for a huge future at Old Trafford.

“To see Axel [Tuanzebe] play as he has done – I think his last game was maybe Colchester – it’s an unbelievable performance by him,” he told MUTV.

“He’s only trained for a couple of weeks and he’s absolutely spot on. Axel’s a tremendous defender, a great leader.

“He’s come through the Academy and we’ve known for years that he’s going to be a top player for us and he’s got the character and the attitude that a Man United player should have.”

Tuanzebe helped frustrate a PSG forward line containing talents such as Neymar, Angel di Maria and Kylian Mbappe, winning one tightly contested challenge after a footrace with the latter in a confident and mature display.

Solskjaer says his side were well aware they would have to dig deep and ‘defend well’ against one of the most formidable attacking line-ups in world football, praising Tuanzebe once more after his side opened their European campaign with a precious three points in Paris.

“You know when you go away from home against a team like this, against players like Neymar and Mbappe, top, top players in the world, that you will have to defend well and David [De Gea] will have to make a few saves.

“Sometimes you’ll get in a foot race with Mbappe and you have to run with him and we know Axel’s qualities, he’s a top defender.

“It’s his first game in 10 months or something which is testament to the quality he has.”

Matchwinner Rashford hails Man United’s ‘intensity’ after impressive late win over PSG

See also – Van Dijk next? Five times injuries or suspensions changed the course of the PL title race

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