Pre-match

“Disappointed” Jose Mourinho wanted to play Axel Tuanzebe in second leg of Manchester United vs Anderlecht tie

“Disappointed” Jose Mourinho wanted to play Axel Tuanzebe in second leg of Manchester United vs Anderlecht tie

Axel Tuanzebe was set to make his Europa League debut against Anderlecht on Thursday, until his senior Manchester United teammates failed to “kill the game” during the first leg.

United dominated possession (59%) and peppered 16 shots at the Belgian giants’ goal in last week’s Europa League quarter-final clash, but could only draw 1-1.

A late Leander Dendoncker header cancelled out Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s first-half opener to ensure Jose Mourinho endured a frustrating night.

Mourinho criticised his attacking players in the aftermath of that game, and while insists his words were not directed solely at star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the manager remains annoyed.

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Indeed, the Portuguese coach has revealed he wanted to play Tuanzebe at Old Trafford, with the highly-rated 19-year-old having only played once for the first-team, in the FA Cup.

As reported by Goal, Mourinho said: “I was not disappointed with Zlatan, I was disappointed with the team. The team had the game in their hands and did not kill the game.

“We could be speaking now about a friendly game had we won 3-0 in Anderlecht. The game was easy to cure and we did not.

“[The second leg could have been] a nice game, and a chance to play Axel Tuanzebe and some of the other young ones without any pressure.”

Centre-back Tuanzebe has generated much excitment for United fans in recent years, showing maturity beyond his years in the academy sides, as well as an imposing 6ft 1in frame.

However, the DR Congo-born starlet will now miss out on his European bow, with the likes of Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly set to feature.

Manchester United displayed an 89% pass accuracy in last week’s first leg against Anderlecht – up 5% on their Europa League season average.

Axel Tuanzebe

Europa League

Jose Mourinho

Manchester United