Jose Mourinho has explained why he gave Axel Tuanzebe his Premier League debut in a vital fixture against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.
He started at right-back for Man United at the Emirates, with the Portuguese boss resting a number of players ahead of the Europa League semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo on Thursday at Old Trafford.
Tuanzebe has travelled with the squad a number of times and has been on the bench, but he made a late substitute against Wigan in January and has since been waiting for a senior start.
Speaking about his side, Mourinho insisted he actually wanted to give Tuanzebe his debut at an earlier stage in the season.
“It was almost coming in a couple of matches, especially against Burnley, and for some reason, I couldn’t give him a chance and in that moment I told him don’t be disappointed because your chance will arrive and when it arrives it will be a big chance,” he said.
“It is a big opportunity for him but it is big pressure, to play against Arsenal is not easy for anyone, especially for a kid who is going to play his first game so I expect the kid to be as relaxed as possible and to play the best he can. It’s an amazing day for him and hopefully, his performance is to remember.”
Mourinho clearly believes in Tuanzebe’s talent as he’s always been incorporated into first-team training sessions, travelling squads, and matchday squads, and it’s brilliant that he’s finally made his debut.
He’s a massive talent for the future and hopes are he can continue to impress the Portuguese boss.