Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on the enthusiasm and confidence of Tahith Chong’s cameo during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Club America.
Chong, who dazzled under Kieran McKenna last season and earned a promotion to the Reserves, was introduced after 67 minutes, with Mourinho’s men a goal down and lacking thrust going forward.
The Dutchman changed that, bursting forward with intent from his very first touch and supplying a delicious cross from which Juan Mata netted a late equaliser.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, Mourinho spoke effusively of the way Chong conduced himself going forward in Arizona.
“He was good, he came with intention to show and in a moment where we have no strikers on the pitch,” he said.
“Martial was the only one and he left so he needs people to create and have some initiative and he did. The cross is a beautiful action: he was enthusiastic and confident to play, he has one more touch and allows body contact and loses it for everyone. He has quality; he is a good kid.”
This game was fast descending into a fat load of nothing before Chong was introduced. Man United fans now have a talking point, something to take from this game. Expectations will fall on the teenager’s shoulders for the rest of the tour following this display.
The crucial aspect here, then, is that Mourinho continues to trust him and play him. This is a player with the raw ability to make inroads in this United team further down the line. There is no reason why he cannot become part of the first team fabric next season.
Mourinho must ease him in, of course, and give senior players the chance they need to get back up to full speed. Judging by what we saw against Club America, however, forgetting about Chong the moment pre-season ends would be a massive waste.