Manchester United gave it a right go but in the end, their return to the Champions League began on a sour note as they lost 3-4 at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Injuries and off-field issues meant Erik ten Hag had to shuffle his pack and in came Facundo Pellistri on the right for just the second start of his three-year-long United career.
Pellistri made his second start for United
That experiment did not work as the Scottish international hardly got on the ball and the manager was forced to tweak things around and went for his standard 4-3-3 formation with the Uruguayan as the right winger.
The Dutchman hinted prior to the game that Pellistri’s training performance warranted a first start and that he felt his pace and trickery could trouble Bayern’s left-back Alphonso Davies.
Fans had also been crying out for the 21-year-old to be given a chance based on his electric cameos off the bench and his displays for the national team where he is a regular starter.
The opportunity did not go according to plan with the winger hardly managing to get any joy out of the Canadian full-back, who was just too quick and strong for him.
It was an expected outcome considering he was lacking in match sharpness and even the best struggle to beat Davies.
He was subsequently substituted after 80 minutes with Marcus Rashford switching over to the right while Alejandro Garnacho came on and played out on the left.
While Pellistri did not have the best of outings, his effort cannot be questioned as he tried gamely and kept tracking back to support his defenders.
Team captain Bruno Fernandes praised the youngster’s display and stated that he deserved his start and he will eventually get more chances to impress.
Despite difficult night, Pellistri earned praise
“Pellistri is one of the players that deserves his chance. He deserves a lot of credit for everything he has done for the team,” Fernandes was quoted as saying by The Manchester Evening News.
“He is someone who is always available, always training hard, and someone who deserves his chance and he did well today, he did the job the manager asked him to do and we are all happy for him because he really deserves to get his chances.”
While Bayern in the Champions League might have been s step too far, Pellistri certainly deserves more chances going forward, and with Burnley up next, he could fare a lot better.
It will be interesting to see who Ten Hag opts for on the right on Saturday or if he again chooses to alter his formation and try an unorthodox approach.