Ole Gunnar Solskjaer challenges Axel Tuanzebe to add consistency to his game to ensure he has ‘a long career’ at Manchester United in wake of his masterclass against Kylian Mbappe and PSG in the Champions League
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for defender Axel Tuanzebe on Friday
- Ahead of facing Chelsea, the young star made a case to be handed a starting role
- Tuanzebe was a Man of the Match contender from the win away to PSG this week
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Axel Tuanzebe to be a top player for Manchester United if he can stay free of injury and be consistent.
It was Tuanzebe’s first appearance since December after undergoing surgery on a foot injury. Now Solskjaer hopes the player, who captained United last season at the age of 21, can kick on with an exciting career.
Axel Tuanzebe was praised by his manager for his masterclass against PSG’s Kylian Mbappe
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now wants to see consistency from Tuanzebe to go to the next level
Tuanzebe’s return to fitness was one of the main reasons why United didn’t rush to buy a centre back before the start of the season, and the versatile academy product showed why at Parc des Princes.
‘It was a great performance by a kid who’s not played for 10 months,’ said Solskjaer.
‘We’re delighted for him because he is such a professional character. He wants everything, he works really hard, he’s been really thorough in his rehab and I am very pleased for him.
‘Now to get consistency in his performances he’s got to stay injury-free, we have to manage that. That’s mine and his job and the physio staff’s job, of course, but I think he can kick on.
‘He’s such a leader, he can play right back, centre back, central midfield, many positions. He’s a boy who takes responsibility for his own development and I’m sure he’s doing everything he can have to have a long career at United so hopefully we can get that consistency.’
Tuanzebe could keep his place against Chelsea on Saturday although captain Harry Maguire may also be available again after injury.
Tuanzebe (left) replaced Harry Maguire and was sensational in the victory against PSG
United have won their last two games against PSG and Newcastle after bouncing back from the 6-1 thrashing at home to Tottenham before the international break.
‘I don’t think anything will erase that memory,’ admitted Solskjaer. ‘It will always be in the history books and we have always got to live with having that result.
‘You can look back at different reasons why we had that result but we have got to move forward. It’s happened so many times at this club that you have results out of the blue or setbacks, so far we have bounced back well.
‘I saw that focus at Newcastle and after you beat PSG it gives you more belief and confidence. Two good performances and results, but it’s the next game and that’s what we’re focused on.
‘(Chelsea) are like many of us, some very good games and some lesser performances. Football is just settling now and getting into shape. We know it’s going to be a tough game against Chelsea. We played them four times last season and it’s two teams that know each other really well.
Solskjaer has admitted that United need to address home form, losing 6-1 at Old Trafford last
‘We need to address the home form, look at the way we prepare and maybe that’s something I’ve got to deal with. The whole lockdown period has made us do things differently at home so we might have to do it in a different way.’
Solskjaer also reassured new signing Donny van de Beek that he will have more first-team opportunities, admitting the Dutchman is ‘eager to play more’.
Van de Beek has started on the bench on each of the first five Premier League and Champions League games.
‘Donny’s fit enough but, of course, it’s competition for places,’ said the United boss. ‘It’s giving him time to settle in and adjust to his new team-mates. It’s a new league. He’s an absolutely top footballer and personality – humble and hard-working but eager to play more. You’ll see him throughout the season. It’s going to be a long, long season and you’ll see him.’