Tahith Chong gets off the bus before the Liverpool game

Chong getting used to top-level tempo at United

Tuesday 29 October 2019 10:24

Manchester United winger Tahith Chong feels he is benefiting from working with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's senior squad and is learning to adapt to top-flight football.

After gaining plenty of first-team involvement this term, the 19-year-old has appeared in five different competitions in 2019/20 - the Premier League, the Europa League, the Carabao Cup, the Leasing.com Trophy and Premier League 2.

After he and Angel Gomes missed the trip to Serbia to face Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League, both started, alongside Ethan Laird and Mason Greenwood, in the Under-23s' 3-1 win over Stoke City on Friday night. Chong played the full 90 minutes and earned a penalty at Leigh Sports Village.

Tahith Chong is on the wrong end of a bruising challenge against Astana.

In our exclusive interview, when asked about his increased involvement at senior level, it was clear that he is pleased to be part of Solskjaer's plans on a regular basis.

“All of us really, just there now, are having a lot of learning curves and are gaining a lot of experience up to now,” he said. “It has been amazing really and, just thinking about it, being a first-team player, is something you dream about. The younger lads coming up as well, so it’s really good.

“Training is a different level as well now. Definitely, the training and the games are tougher, stuff like that, as you progress, but you keep training and keep playing games and you’ll get there. You start getting used to the tempo to the game and, like I’ve said, it’s been a good experience for us.”

It must be difficult for any player to quickly get up to speed with a game when coming off the bench and one memory of Chong's fledgling career is when he was thrown in at the deep end at Paris Saint-Germain in what became a frantic second leg during the Champions League knockout stage last season. He acquitted himself well and adapted to the surroundings in a frenetic atmosphere and this was valuable experience under the belt.

“It is one of the things you get used to,” he said. “The tempo coming into the game as well. The tempo is already there and, it’s 'okay, now I’m coming on, I’ve got to get used to it and get into the game straight away'. It’s all a learning experience and I’m really enjoying it.

“Obviously, it depends on the game really and how the game is going, stuff like that, but your instructions are based on how the game is going really. Every game has different instructions. The manager tells you, as well, to go out there and enjoy your game and do what you’re good at.”
Tahith Chong has made four first-team appearances for United this season.

Chong felt the overall performance against Liverpool boosted confidence going into this spell of four successive away games with things going well so far. Chelsea are up next, in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, following victories over Partizan Belgrade and Norwich City.

“I think everyone looked to the Liverpool game and will say okay, we looked very good,” he added. “But then we’re disappointed we didn’t get all three points. You look at the positives and then take that away from the game and move forward from it. It was definitely a good team performance, we just didn’t manage to get the three points we needed.

“For us, it’s one of the first times we’ve played that system and to do it that well says a lot about the group and the boys we have.”

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