Manchester United strolled past La Liga high-flyers Real Betis 4-1 in the Europa League Round of 16 first leg at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Unless things go horribly wrong, it is safe to say United are in the driver’s seat for a place in the quarterfinals of the competition.
After a tepid first-half, the Red Devils played some scintillating stuff at times and it could have been worse for the Spanish side if not for some dodgy decision-making at times.
Yet another electric Pellistri cameo
At 3-1, there was still a possibility that Betis could turn around the tie at home and it was great to see that hope snuffed out by the immediate impact of Facundo Pellistri.
Right after coming on, he made a purposeful run wherein he evaded the challenges of several defenders before cutting back a delicious ball for substitute Scott McTominay to attack.
The midfielder’s shot was well-saved by Claudio Bravo but the rebound was tucked home by Wout Weghorst. The 21-year-old had the chance to get on the score-sheet himself but Bravo robbed him off the chance.
— Facu Pellistri (@FPellistri07) March 10, 2023
The cameo reminded fans of his obvious potential and was similar to his debut for the club when he made an instant impact against Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup.
It took the Uruguayan almost two seasons for him to make his United debut and even then, there were plenty of rumours linking him with an exit in January.
However, Ten Hag blocked his exit and the Uruguayan was rewarded with a first Premier League appearance against Leeds United and a cameo off the bench in the Europa League now.
And the Dutchman has revealed how impressed he has been with the Uruguay international’s application in training and how he deserved his chance.
ETH praises Pellistri training attitude
“He is the example by deserving his position by performance on the training [ground]. And I said the other day, I did not select him for Liverpool and it was not even totally justified because he was training that well.
“Now this was his moment to come on because of a longer period he performed in training. What impressed me was he came on and, straight [away], showed himself.
When they came on, Scott [McTominay] and Pelli, it was 3-1 but 4-1 is huge, to make the extra goal. In the first moment, they did, which was brilliant,” the gaffer told the club’s media department.
Pellistri is certainly making a strong case for his inclusion in the coming games and his chance might come against Southampton on Sunday as well as in the second leg against Betis.
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