Axel Tuanzebe criticised after poor performance on first Napoli start
Axel Tuanzebe made his first start for loan side Napoli last night and it did not go as he planned it.
The Manchester United loanee started in the Coppa Italia tie against Fiorentina and saw his side concede five goals.
The scoreline was a little harsh on Tuanzebe, with the match finishing 2-2 after 90 minutes. His team were reduced to nine men soon after, with Hirving Lozano and Fabian Ruiz both sent off in the final five minutes of regular time.
Fiorentina made the numerical advantage count by running riot in extra-time, scoring three goals.
Tuanzebe’s worst moment came in normal time, however, when he was too slow to react to a cross coming in and prolific forward Dusan Vlahovic made him pay, scoring the opening goal of the game.
Tuanzebe criticised in Italy
As first impressions go, this was not the best way for Tuanzebe to introduce himself in Italy on his first start.
There should be some context applied though, this was his first start at any level since his previous loan at Aston Villa way back on November 5.
There was a fair, uncompromising assessment from Italian journalist Umberto Chiariello, speaking to Italian broadcaster Canale 21 reported by Tutto Napoli.
He said: “If this match was to be used to see Tuanzebe, we must say he is not yet ready for the Italian championship, he has yet to learn how to defend in Italy. He made mistakes that a defender should never make, on Vlahovic’s goal he missed every defensive move.
“He is a footballer who must learn, if he has not managed to break through up to this moment there will be some reason, even for the same Koulibaly the first year in Italy was a total apprenticeship. So Tuanzebe not rejected, but postponed.”
A knockout cup tie clearly proved not to be the ideal game for Tuanzebe to be reintroduced, and the enthusiasm for the loanee in Italy has clearly been dampened by his display.
But as Chiariello points out, Tuanzebe will need a little time to adjust to Italian football and fans will have to be patient with him. Napoli’s next game is in Serie A on Monday night against Bologna and the loanee will most probably have to settle for a place on the bench.
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