Man United FC

United have a player that Erik ten Hag can’t keep ignoring

In the lead-up to Manchester United’s 1-0 triumph over Fulham, a spirited bedsheet displaying the words ‘Play like you mean it!!’ made a notable appearance in the away end.

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While United’s players nearly overlooked the sentiment, Facundo Pellistri seized the opportunity to shine.

Emerging from the bench, his grit and determination paved the way for Bruno Fernandes to net a crucial winner.

Despite Pellistri’s impactful 27-minute performance against Fulham, he found himself excluded from Erik ten Hag’s plans in subsequent clashes with FC Copenhagen and Luton Town.

Named on the bench but denied playing time, questions arise about the Uruguayan’s role, especially with Antony’s recent struggles.

Antony, without a goal since April and an assist since May, has struggled to make an impact. Yet, Pellistri, who displayed promise, remains on the fringes.

Marcus Rashford, deployed on the right-wing, fails to replicate his influence on the opposite flank.

While Ten Hag’s decisions have some rationale, the lack of attacking output from Antony adds complexity to the situation.

Recent months underscore Ten Hag’s reluctance to trust Pellistri as a starter. The Uruguayan, starting just three games this season, faces limited opportunities to challenge Antony.

However, the player’s influential role under Uruguay boss Marcelo Bielsa during the international break complicates the narrative.

Pellistri started twice for Uruguay, contributing to victories over Argentina (2-0) and Bolivia (3-0). His dynamic play, including a trademark assist against Bolivia, strengthens his case for a starting role at United.

While Ten Hag may have reservations about Pellistri’s impact as a starter, his consistent performances at the international level are hard to overlook.

Bielsa, a coach demanding high standards, values Pellistri, evident in his starts and contributions.

With recent back-to-back starts for Uruguay, featuring a pivotal role in a win against world champions, Pellistri’s case for a regular starting berth at United gains momentum.

Despite limited starts at Old Trafford, Pellistri’s recent international performances highlight his rising stature. United, facing Antony’s struggles, should consider Pellistri’s potential impact.

His direct style and adept crossing ability could prove beneficial, especially with Rasmus Hojlund in the equation.

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