With Harry Maguire suspended and Eric Bailly unavailable, Axel Tuanzebe was temporarily promoted from fourth choice to second.
This meant a first start since January for Tuanzebe as United hosted Granada in the Europa League quarter-finals.
United were 2-0 up from the first leg, and saw out a fairly comfortable 90 minutes.
Tuanzebe played a key role in this, partnering Victor Lindelof at the back.
The pair looked like they had played together for years, and this was probably Tuanzebe’s best 90 minutes since the away win over PSG.
Tuanzebe won two aerial duels, and blocked three shots. No other player on United’s team even blocked one.
One of Tuanzebe’s flaws to his game recently has been giving away free-kicks. He only committed two fouls in this match, the same as Lindelof.
Tuanzebe also made three clearances, two interceptions and won one tackle.
His performance was exactly what United were looking for, and it was a game Tuanzebe needed too.
What’s next for Tuanzebe?
There is a chance this performance could see him dislodge Eric Bailly as United’s third choice.
There is no danger he will take Harry Maguire’s place, but there could be some opportunities towards the end of the season, especially if United wrap up Champions League qualification early.
Eric Bailly’s future at the club is in doubt, with his contract expiring in 2022.
United have less incentive to play the Ivorian, and academy graduate Tuanzebe could get chances.
This performance may have been enough to earn him those opportunities ahead of Bailly, when the team is rotated.
Here is a look at how United supporters reacted to Tuanzebe’s performance…
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