Tuanzebe: Mourinho ordered me to stay with Sanchez on full Man Utd debut
Jose Mourinho praised Axel Tuanzebe after his full debut against Arsenal and the defender himself relished the challenge.
Manchester United youngster Axel Tuanzebe felt he coped well with what Jose Mourinho demanded of him on his full debut for the club – staying with Arsenal superstar Alexis Sanchez.
Tuanzebe, 19, had only previously made one FA Cup substitute appearance but was thrown in at the deep end at Emirates Stadium on Sunday and tasked with marking one of the world's top players.
The defender relished the opportunity despite his side's 2-0 defeat and hopes his first-team breakthrough will lead to him playing a bigger role in the United squad next season.
"The manager gave me one task - to stay with him [Sanchez] and I seemed to do that quite well," Tuanzebe, who played at right-back, said to MUTV. "But we didn't win, so it doesn't count as much.
"It is good to have the opportunity to play - the manager gives you a job and you have to show he can trust you for future games.
"It is all thanks to the manager because he gave me the opportunity. We didn't get the win, which is a disappointment, but I'm chuffed personally.
"At first, you see all the fans and you think, ' Flipping heck’ but when the game starts, you lose yourself in it and concentrate on doing your job.
"You don't have a time where you are ready to play, you just have to be thrown into the deep end and if you can cope, you know you have confidence and you can fall back on it and think, 'Yeah, I've played like that before and I can do it again'.
"I feel in with the lads now. It also demonstrates to people that I can play and the lads have more trust in me, so it is a good feeling.
"My goals now are to get as many minutes as I can until the end of the season and come back stronger for pre-season, to show the manager I'm here and one of the stronger candidates for next year's team."
Manager Mourinho was hugely impressed with Tuanzebe, making a point of praising him after the loss.
Mourinho said: "I think he did an amazing job and I think Alexis Sanchez knows his name because the kid played very well."
Tuanzebe was also thrilled to see fellow youngster Scott McTominay come off the substitutes' bench late on to make his United debut against Arsenal.
"The manager giving the young players opportunities is always good," he said. "I have grown up with Scott over the years, so to see him make his debut is a proud moment.
"It can help all the young players coming through the system to believe they can do it. Marcus Rashford was an example and now I'm an example, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Scott are examples.
"It gives the young lads a boost that they can do it too."