Erik ten Hag will be hoping to rotate his Manchester United squad for Thursday’s Europa League game against Sheriff Tiraspol but still ensure full points.
United need to win Thursday’s contest at Old Trafford if they are to keep alive their chances of finishing top of Group E.
This year’s format has been tweaked and only the top teams of each group directly qualify for the Round of 16. The second-placed teams will have to play an additional two-legged tie to make it through.
Europa prospects for United
And that additional tie will be against the teams dropping from the Champions League, something the Red Devils should try and avoid considering the already jam-packed schedule.
Facundo Pellistri: "Yes, it's incredible. Training alongside players of that class, they are top, top players and you learn a lot from them. I'm very happy to be sharing a training pitch and, of course, a dressing room with these guys." [mu] #mulive
— utdcrib (@utdcrib) October 27, 2022
The home game represents the best chance for Ten Hag to give a few players some much needed rest ahead of crucial leagues tests to come prior to the World Cup.
One such player who will be hoping to be involved is Facundo Pellistri. The 20-year-old is yet to make his United debut despite signing for the club back in 2020.
He had two underwhelming loan spells at Alaves and was subject of quite a lot of loan interest in the summer as well. He enjoyed a decent pre-season for the Red Devils, going on to score against Liverpool in the opener.
But an unfortunate injury suffered during the penultimate pre-season engagement against Atletico Madrid meant his chances of a temporary switch evaporated and he had to stay back at Carrington to recuperate from the injury.
Now, the former Penarol youngster is back in training and has even made the matchday squad for our last seven games. And the remaining Europa games and the lone EFL Cup tie prior to the Qatar showpiece represents his best chance at making his debut.
Pellistri to make debut?
Ten Hag hinted at giving the Uruguay international his shot at making it at the 20-time English champions. Not only Pellistri but attacking academy graduates like Alejandro Garnacho and Zidane Iqbal are also chomping at the bit in order to impress the Dutchman.
“He was injured, [for a] long period,” Ten Hag told reporters ahead of the visit of Sheriff Tiraspol. “[Against] Atletico Madrid, [he got a] bad injury. So he is now returning.
“We have some young players in the background in offensive positions.
“Quite good competition there and they have to battle for it to convince us, to convince me to be in the team, and he is one of the options.”
United will be hoping to garner full points as well as reduce the goal difference between them and group leaders Sociedad. The youngsters will be aiming to light it up under the lights at Old Trafford.
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