Chong delighted to make debut
Tahith Chong described his Manchester United first-team debut as "a proud moment" and has now vowed to keep working hard in order to earn more opportunities.
The 19-year-old came on in the second half of Saturday's 2-0 win over Reading in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford, replacing Juan Mata in the 62nd minute.
The forward showed glimpses of his talent in an energetic display and admitted in his post-match interview with MUTV that it was a proud moment for him and his family.
"It was a special moment and I couldn’t enjoy it more than I did,” he told Stewart Gardner in the tunnel after the game. “The boss [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] said just enjoy it, get on the ball and try and get a few touches in and just enjoy the game.
"I think it is a proud moment. You work hard to get there and the club have helped me so it is just a proud moment just standing there. My parents, my mum and dad, came [to watch] so I was happy they could see it as well."
Chong was involved in the first-team squad in October when he was an unused substitute for the Champions League home clash against Juventus.
But after his first taste of first-team action against Reading, the youngster - who claimed the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award last term - insists he now wants to work even harder to get more chances under Solskjaer.
"I just tried to get into the game, tried to get used to the tempo and then I got a few touches so it was good, but I now have to keep my feet on the ground, keep working hard and when my chances come, I have just got to take them,” he continued.
"I think the manager [Solskjaer] has done a brilliant job since he has come in and I am not the first one [to make my debut]. Angel [Gomes] has had a run-out, so I think for the young boys coming through it is good to see that and we will work even harder to get there.
"Everyone at the youth level can see the opportunity out there, so everyone is working even harder now to get there. It is good to see that."
'HOPEFULLY VAR WILL BE QUICKER IN FUTURE'
Mata, the man who made way for Chong, was seen clapping and smiling as the young Dutchman was welcomed to the action. It was our no.8 who settled any early nerves, winning and converting a penalty in the first half via the assistance of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), before Romelu Lukaku netted the second goal just before the break.
"It was important to score the penalty, the opener, and now we are through thanks to the two goals," the Spaniard told MUTV after the game.
"It took too long to make the decision which was the only negative point. Hopefully in the future it can be quicker because I am OK for [having] VAR, if it has that importance to the result like it did today. It has to be as fair as possible and I think VAR helps to do that, but hopefully it can be a bit quicker."
'IT WAS IMPORTANT TO KEEP WINNING'
Mata gave credit to Reading, who were dangerous on the counter attack, but he thinks it’s a good sign that United are winning games when not at our best.
"It was important to go into half time 2-0 ahead, but big credit to Reading because they played good football," said Juan. "They came to Old Trafford with a new manager [Jose Gomes] and played in a very good way. It was difficult to play against them, so I wish them all the best.
"We should have done better, but we are through and I think we are in a moment where, even when we are not playing at our best, we are winning and that is very important to keep that moment, atmosphere and run of results going. We feel now that even if we are not playing very well, we win and we have a clean sheet as well. It is very good for [Sergio] Romero and we are happy.”