Axel Tuanzebe turned in a remarkable performance in Manchester United’s win at Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night, which also saw Alex Telles make his debut for the club, but the young defender was keen to play down his achievements.
The 22-year-old was filling in at centre-back with Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly out injured, playing his first game for United since December last year.
It was a daunting task ahead of him, coming up against Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, but he produced a brilliant display as United picked up a 2-1 win in Paris.
Seemingly unfazed by the occasion, Tuanzebe was calm after the final whistle, saying that he expects Manchester United to dominate teams like PSG.
‘Yeah, it was good.’ Tuanzebe said of his performance. ‘It was good to get a run out. It’s a difficult game to come back to, but I’m just happy we’ve got the win.
‘We came here to win. We’re in this competition to compete. We showed PSG respect, but ultimately we’re the bigger team and we want to dominate and get the three points.
‘Most definitely, you pay them [Neymar, Mbappe and Angel Di Maria] the respects but, at the end of the day, you focus on your own game and you try and do your best for the team. We came out here to win, got the three points and we’re happy with that.’
‘Obviously to aid the team and it being a difficult game, we tried something new and it paid off,he explained. ‘And we’re happy that it paid off. It’s three points and happy days.’
Telles was making his first appearance in a Manchester United shirt after his £15.4m move from Porto this summer and he has impressed his teammates early in his Red Devils career.
‘It was a solid performance from him,’ Tuanzebe said of the Brazil international. ‘We’re proud of him. A good addition for the team, a good personality, good character. So going forward I’m very [much] looking forward to working with him.’
The victory puts Manchester United in a great position to qualify from a tricky Group H of the competition, which also includes RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unsurprisingly thrilled with Tuanzebe and Telles, praising the former’s leadership and the latter’s dangerous delivery going forward.
‘To see Axel play as he has done – I think his last game was maybe Colchester – it’s an unbelievable performance by him,’ said the Norwegian.
‘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.
‘And you can see Alex [Telles], on his debut, what he’s going to give us. His delivery was great.’
United host Chelsea on Saturday in the Premier League as they look to build momentum after this fine result.
The Blues also played in the Champions League on Tuesday night, drawing 0-0 at home with Europa League champions Sevilla.