Tuanzebe & Pereira debuts
Warren Joyce may not have been pleased with the result but he would have been proud to see Mourinho’s first academy debuts coming against Wigan on Sunday. Axel Tuanzebe was never in doubt to be his first protege at United as he has spoken highly of him within weeks of arriving at the club.
You can see how humbled Rochdale-raised Tuanzebe appeared when being interviewed by MUTV afterwards. His composure on the pitch is really reflected in his personality off it he recalled the moment saying “I could hear Zlatan saying keep it simple, keep it simple. I followed his advice and my moment finally came.” And in fairness you would certainly do what the big Swede says.
Joel Pereira then became the second academy player to debut under Mourinho. To put it into context, Moyes was accountable for 3 reserve debuts and Van Gaal 14. Jose knows what he’s doing and is not rushing into anything as he speaks about adapting them to the squad in order to make them available when needed. This is just the start.
However Sam Johnstone must feel somewhat aggrieved spending 6 years on the fringes of the first-team and being sent out on loan having never made his debut only for Pereira to step up to the first-team before him.
Although saying this Joel Pereira has deserved his debut with some magnificent performances, commanding in the air, solid shot stopping and a pinpoint distribution have all vastly improved over the past two seasons.
Praise must also go to the fringe players who opened up a two goal cushion to allow these subs to be made, the morale of the side will be boosted for it and if the FA Cup can provide these windows to talented youngsters then it has not lost any of its prestigiousness.
Sean Goss Leaves for QPR
This transfer window has seen two reserve players depart on loan; Sam Johnstone to Aston Villa and Joe Riley to Sheffield United. Josh Doughty also returned to America following a lack of game time.
But it was the permanent departure of Sean Goss which was a surprise to see as he transferred permanently to Queens Park Rangers for a fee of £500,000.
There was a lot of speculation about Goss’ desire to leave the club he joined from Exeter City in 2012. He was performing excellently for the reserves this season since coming back from injury. With 9 appearances Goss managed 3 goals, 2 assists and 2 man of the match awards.
Nicky Butt spoke out about the transfer saying “He did a great job at the club but it got to the point where he spoke to me on several occasions and obviously he felt it was time for him to go.”
The German born midfielder also revealed “Ian (Holloway) and Les (Ferdinand) had a massive influence on me. They told me everything I wanted to hear.”
Goss deserves to play regulalry and Ian Holloway should angle his team to be built around the Carrick-esque midfielder. Set pieces are no issue to him and he will provide a high level of control and composure in midfield for QPR.
The only worry is how financially stable QPR are as a club, they should avoid relegation this season, but the club have a reputation for changing managers quite frequently.
Let’s hope Goss is in the right hands as it won’t surprise many if he were to feature in the Premier League further down the line.
As for the questions on the deal, there WILL be a buy-back clause included if Goss were to really thrive at QPR.
United 1-3 Everton (Duffus, Mitchell [p], Sambou, Sambou [p])
Four penalties given on the night and only two converted as United lost out to top of the table Everton after substitute Sambou’s late brace.
From Gabon to Leigh, you could forgive Eric Bailly for being the only one wearing a hoodie during the warm ups. Bailly started the game as he looked to return to the first-team following AFCON, although at 22 years of age the Ivorian was eligible to play anyway.
Tuanzebe and Pereira were both fresh from their brief first-team debuts against Wigan just 24 hours previous. But despite a strong line up Everton were no slouches, as they sit at the top of the league and boast a prestigious academy set up.
Early in the match, Matthew Olosunde slid in to a challenge which appeared to be outside of the box, the referee however pointed straight to the spot. It mattered little however as Walsh’s penalty was saved well by Joel Pereira.
Bailly and Tuanzebe were linking up well and really gelling at the back, they had to perform due to the lack of attacking options in front of them and were kept busy throughout the first-half.
But despite their resolute displays, one lapse in concentration made all their previous hard work obsolete as Courtney Duffus found a gap in the box, and calmly put Everton ahead shooting low beyond Pereira’s left hand reach.
Nicky Butt must’ve got into the forward players at half-time as United were much more adventurous after the break. Matthew Olosunde broke forward down the left and after getting to the byline he was chopped down, penalty.
Josh Harrop placed the ball on the spot, took his run up and then blazed it high over the bar as the ball presumably landed somewhere on the East Lancs.
Not long after Mitchell drove into the box this time from left-back, a position he has thrived in since moving there earlier this season. Everton’s defence couldn’t cope with how direct he was and tugged him back, penalty.
Demi Mitchell didn’t hesitate to grab the ball, place it down, and then nestle it into the net to equalise and deservedly so.But then came bad news as Eric Bailly went down injured in the build up to the penalty and was forced off because of it.
Tyrell Warren came on in his place, and was unfortunate to be turned by Everton’s substitute striker Sambou, who finished clinically to put Everton back into the lead.
Then it was Tuanzebe’s turn to have an uncharacteristic wobble bringing down Sambou in the box, the referee’s arm must have been tired at this point as he pointed for penalty number four. Which Sambou converted to add a bit of gloss to the scoreline.
Man of the Match: Despite giving away an early penalty Matthew Olosunde made up for his error with some direct running as he always made himself available on the right wing. Won a penalty and put in some dangerous crosses.
Line up: Pereira 7, Olosunde 7, Tuanzebe 6, Bailly 7 (Warren 5), Mitchell 7, Scott 6, Kehinde 6, Gribbin 6 (Buffonge 5), Redmond 6, Harrop 7, McTominay 5
Subs: O’Hara, Warren (Bailly), El Fitouri, Hamilton, Buffonge (Gribbin)
Premier League International Cup Date Announced
United are to face Porto in the Premier League International Cup Quarter-Finals. The Portuguese side finished top of their group and will provide a stern test to United on Weds 22nd Feb at Leigh Sports Village, although this does clash with the first teams tie in Saint-Etienne.
Derby County [A] | Mon 06th February | St George’s Park | 19:00