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.
Axel Tuanzebe just played his first game for Manchester United since December 2019…
100% aerial duels won
92% pass accuracy
A 🔝 display 🔥 pic.twitter.com/z4CaRgGsam
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 20, 2020
“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.”