Man Utd ‘can press Chelsea’ and change approach to game by starting Tuanzebe

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Manchester United need to start Axel Tuanzebe against Chelsea on Saturday.

That is the view of Paul Merson, who believes that the lack of pace at the back has cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on more than one occasion since he took over from Jose Mourinho back in 2018.

The former Arsenal playmaker thinks that although the Norwegian will want his team to play higher up the pitch, they have been forced to drop deep as a result of their slow central defenders.

Merson reckons that Tuanzebe could be the answer to that issue having watched him shine against PSG.

“The one thing United are not blessed with in the back two is pace, and United will want to be playing on the half-way line and pressing teams,” Merson told Sky Sports on Saturday.

“With him (Axel Tuanzebe) playing, you can do that, and that gives United more of a chance.

“At the moment they have to keep on dropping and dropping, the gap gets opened up, and I don’t think they have enough naturally gifted midfield players, yeah they have Bruno Fernandes but also Scott McTominay and Fred, who are going to go and break the game up.

“I watched him race Mbappe twice and easily matched him the whole way for pace, for me he has to play, he has got pace and that’s what they need at the back.”

Tuanzebe has recently returned to the first-team fold following a serious injury.

Solskjaer said of his recent performance: “To see Axel play as he has done – I think his last game was maybe Colchester – it’s an unbelievable performance by him.

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“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.”

With the 22-year-old saying of the result: "For us, we came here to win.

"We are in this competition to compete. We showed PSG respect but ultimately, we are the bigger team and we want to dominate and get the three points."

  • Manchester United FC
  • Premier League
  • Chelsea FC
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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