Ronaldo cites ‘heat of moment’ after left off Manchester United squad list for U21s
Manchester United’s Under-21 squad were left scrambling for a place in their next League Cup game against Bristol City on Saturday, after a shock change in manager and a player who had not played for the first team in a year.
United’s players needed to make a number of changes to cope with former defender Eric Bailly’s move to Bournemouth, but manager Jose Mourinho opted to leave on the bench one of his most important players for the game, midfielder Axel Tuanzebe.
Tuanzebe, who was born in Cape Town while his father was a Red Devils’ youth player, made his United debut in the League Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea in 2014, and has been in fine form this season.
However, the player was ruled out of action against the Robins with knee problems – which he has suffered in six of United’s last seven games – and Mourinho insisted that the decision was ‘a very difficult’ one.
The United team to play Bristol City in the EFL Cup on Saturday were confirmed on Tuesday afternoon – a 1.
“Yes it was difficult for Axel, a very difficult decision for Axel, and also for Axel, yes,” he said.
“That’s something that we were all waiting for, and that is he is not in the squad. I was going to say that his form in the last year [in Manchester] we know he is not match fit [but] the heat of the moment was there.
“That’s the decision, we are very, very happy, because he is our leader in the midfield and it’s a very, very difficult decision. He needs to be at the club and we have to work, and we will work.”
When pressed on the issue, Mourinho said: “That he is not in the squad, you understand now, and that is bad luck. I am disappointed for the people, and the fans of the club. That’s the decision of the club.”
United’s Under-21s take on Bristol City in