Axel: We showed our confidence
Tuanzebe tells us why team spirit is the driving force behind the Reds' bid for silverware this season...
Axel, first of all, let’s get your reaction to the draw. It’s the second year running we’ve got City in the semi-finals of the League Cup… “Yeah, it's a good team to have in a semi-final, because they're one of those teams that, if you beat them, then you're going into the final with real confidence. We want to win this trophy and trophies don't come around too often, so it's an opportunity to take.” And this season, rather than being two legs it’s one leg, and thankfully at Old Trafford, as well… “That gives us the home advantage. We believe in ourselves and obviously on the back of this game I thought we played very well and started the game very sharp, so we want to take this momentum into that game.” And it was really very, very tight against City a couple of weeks ago – would you expect it to be very tight again? “It was definitely a tight game against City [recently]. They’re a good football-playing side and we know what to expect, so we'll be prepared for them.” This was obviously a tough fixture, but how do you think the lads got on today? “We came here with confidence and to win – there was no other solution. The lads came here with confidence and we played that way. I think it showed today, on the pitch.” You slotted it at right-back. We’ve seen you play right-back, left-back, centre-back, centre-mid. How did you enjoy it? “Yeah, it was good. Ninety minutes in the bank again, but most important is that we're through to the next round and we’re playing City.” And playing right-back these days, you have to spend a lot of time getting forward as well. Do you enjoy that part of it? “Yeah. it's good to get involved. As a kid you always play football to always get forward and to express myself today and have that little bit more freedom today was good. “ It’s been a bit of a disrupted start to the season for you, but how are you feeling now as we head towards the Christmas period? “I feel good. Just main focus is to have a good mid-season. There are a lot of games coming up during this Christmas time. The most important thing is to stay fit and be available. The games come thick and fast and we need to get through it and have a strong end to the season.” It says a lot that you can make nine changes and then still field a team like that, come here and win the game? “The team spirit has been massive especially since we got knocked out of the Champions League. The lads have come together and everyone is ready to play a part. It's a team sport and everyone is ready and everyone’s training hard. Some of the lads haven't played much this season but we always try to come in and just do the job.” There were loads of semi-finals last year. Is the season we can go one better? “Definitely. We're very frustrated about the Champions League still, so we want to come out with some silverware. It's been a couple of years since we've won anything, so we want to win something this year.”