Manchester United’s under-21s are out of the EFL Trophy after a narrow 3-2 defeat away at Tranmere.
The defeat brought an end to a successful run in the competition for the youngsters. The defeat wasn’t all bad, there was one big positive to take away from it.
Tahith Chong scored both of Manchester United’s goals, and they were both excellent long range efforts.
He made it seem implausible that he was the same player who missed an open goal from three yards out against Astana one week ago.
Even as the game went on into the second half after Tranmere went 3-2 ahead, Chong was United’s most dangerous player and the one most likely to make the breakthrough.
Chong’s experience for United’s first team last week could hardly have gone much worse. His open goal miss cost United the game, with Astana equalising seconds later and then going on to win 2-1.
For the first team, Chong does not seem sure of himself and lacks confidence. His miss illustrated this.
For United’s academy teams he is a totally different player.
Coach Neil Ryan told the club website: “He’s done really well. He’s had some games up with the first team and, when he comes here, he’s done well for us. I’m pleased for him, having scored two great goals and had a great impact in the second half. He was a real threat and did well.”
The Europa League game was a tough one for Chong and he could have gone into his shell upon his return to Manchester.
This was a great response, and shows the Dutchman is determined to bounce back.
There are still questions over his long-term future with his contract set to expire.
This might earn him another shot in the first team against Colchester or AZ Alkmaar. It is good to see he is not giving up.
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