Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may very well have shattered Axel Tuanzebe’s confidence, former Manchester United defender Paul Parker believes.
The 22-year-old returned to the starting XI for the time in 10 months in United’s 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in October.
Tuanzebe turned in a mature and solid display against the Parisians, as he did in the Red Devils’ following European fixture against RB Leipzig.
The centre-back, however, had a game to forget in United’s 2-1 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday night.
Tuanzebe was substituted during the half-time interval, with Solskjaer replacing the former England Under-21 international with his fellow academy graduate Scott McTominay.
And Parker believes the Norwegian’s decision to axe the defender at half-time could do irreparable damage to his confidence.
“Everyone is going to make mistakes, but it’s the manner of the mistake that matters most,” Parker told Eurosport. “Fergie would scream and shout if there was an error, but he would notice how it had come about.
“To be caught out like that so early in the game is astounding. When you pay such huge sums for players, like Harry Maguire, you expect them to think for themselves and organise the side. Maguire didn’t do that.
“In the third phase of play as the attack broke down, you wonder why Maguire didn’t tell Axel Tuanzebe to drop back.
“You wonder if Henderson shouted to Nemanja Matic to tell him of the danger. Why did neither of those things happen? A mistake like that has never happened when David de Gea has been in goal.
“United weren’t gambling to score, it was poor communication. The team are looking for leadership from their captain, especially one who is a central defender.
Newcastle United (a) – Premier League, Oct 17
Paris Saint-Germain (a) – Champions League, Oct 20
Chelsea (h) – Premier League, Oct 24
RB Leipzig (h) – Champions League, Oct 28
Arsenal (h) – Premier League, Nov 1
Istanbul Basaksehir (a), Champions League, Nov 4
Everton (a) – Premier League, Nov 7
“I am worried about Tuanzebe and how he has been treated by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He had a great game against Paris Saint-Germain, then had no involvement until the next Champions League game.
“He got another opportunity last night and then got dragged off. I’d be concerned about how that will affect him mentally.
“He might wonder why he was subbed when he wasn’t at fault for the goal, and be looking at the £80 million captain alongside him.
“Taking Tuanzebe off could be a mammoth mistake in the long term.”
Manchester United will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, travelling to Goodison Park to take on Everton.