Ole Gunnar Solskjaer raves about ‘quality’ Man United defender

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Axel Tuanzebe's performance in Manchester United's 2-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Photo: Sky Sports)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Axel Tuanzebe for his performance in Manchester United’s 2-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League group-stage opener at Parc des Princes on Tuesday night.

The Manchester United manager opted to start Tuanzebe in the absence of club captain Harry Maguire for the trip to the French capital for their opening fixture in the 2020-21 Champions League campaign.

The 22-year-old was starting his first game in over 10 months despite making just four previous appearances in Uefa competitions over the past four seasons.

The England Under-21 defender produced a measured performance at the back as the Congo-born centre-half managed to tame Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria at Parc des Princes.

Tuanzebe showed his pace and strength to halt Mbappe and Neymar’s surges into David De Gea’s penalty area on a number of occasions to earn rave reviews from BT Sport pundits Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves.

Speaking at his post-match media conference following Manchester United’s 2-1 win against PSG at Parc des Princes, Solskjear reserved special praise for Tuanzebe.

“It’s a different feeling from the last time we won here, it’s at the start of the group stage but we’ve beaten a fantastic team,” Solskjaer said.

“Last time it was a knockout and it was euphoric, this is sterile without the fans but it’s still excellent and we deserved to win.

“When you go away to a team like this against Neymar and Mbappe you have to defend well and your keeper will have to make saves.

“Axel Tuanzebe is a top defender and his first game in 10 months was testament to the quality he has.”

Tuanzebe has made 19 appearances in all competitions for Manchester United over the past five seasons.

The England Under-21 international has spent two seasons on loan at Aston Villa between 2017 and 2019.

Tuanzebe started his Manchester United career as an eight-year old at the club’s academy in 2005.

Manchester United will host Chelsea FC in their next Premier League fixture at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

The Red Devils will host Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig in the Champions League next Wednesday.

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