Thomas Tuchel has opened up on Adnan Januzaj's loan spell with Borussia Dortmund, claiming he could not let go of his connection to Manchester United.
The 20-year-old was due to spend the entire season with the German club after joining them in August but never looked like breaking into the first-team picture. He failed to start a single Bundesliga game and made just six appearances from the bench.
Both Louis van Gaal and Tuchel agreed it was best to terminate the deal, although Januzaj's situation has hardly improved since his return to Old Trafford – he has played just five minutes of football.
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Now, Tuchel has opened up, at least slightly, on why Januzaj found himself on the fringes of his squad, saying that a large part of the Belgian never left Manchester United.
“A part of him was always still in Manchester and we just couldn’t help him cut this umbilical cord,” Tuchel told FourFourTwo. “He didn’t wholly embrace Borussia. He always compared everything with how it had been at United.”
Back to basics
Following a meteoric rise under David Moyes, Januzaj has regressed to just another promising prospect in Manchester United's squad. Indeed, he is more likely to be turning out for the under-21 outfit than the first-team between now and the end of the season.
Part of the problem for Januzaj is Van Gaal's system; the Dutchman has been unable to fit the featherweight winger into his system, whatever that system is. Last season, Januzaj played in several different positions, even as a striker, in an attempt to work his way into the starting XI. He failed.
Now, Januzaj finds himself at a crossroads in this early part of his career. He needs regular first-team football to maximise his potential but is unlikely to get that at a club competing at the top end of Europe's top five leagues. Unless things change dramatically, he could be looking at a serious downgrade in the summer.
Unless things change dramatically, he could be looking at a serious downgrade in the summer.