Erik ten Hag sent a message to Facundo Pellistri ahead of Manchester United vs Southampton

Man United boss Erik ten Hag was full of praise for Reds ace Facundo Pellistri after his cameo against Real Betis.

Facundo Pellistri from Manchester United

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag insists Reds youngster Facundo Pellistri deserves a chance to play in the first team because of his application and performances in training.

Pellistri came off the bench in United’s 4-1 win over Real Betis on Thursday night, with the Uruguay international playing a key role in the fourth and final goal of the Europa League clash. The 21-year-old skirted several defenders before providing a clever cut-back to Scott McTominay.

The Scot’s early effort was parried by Claudio Bravo, but Wout Weghorst was able to steer the ball into an unmarked net for his first Old Trafford goal. Only a fine save from the Betis goalkeeper prevented Pellistri from scoring himself during a memorable cameo off the bench.

Ten Hag was eager to praise Pellistri ahead of the Reds’ Premier League game against Southampton on Sunday, with the Dutchman saying the young forward was an “example” on the training pitch at Carrington.

“He is an example and deserves his position with his performances on the training [pitch],” Ten Hag told club media. “And I said the other day, I didn’t pick him for Liverpool and that’s not even fully justified because he’s training well.

“Now it’s time for him to come on because he‘s been out longer in training. What impressed me is 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 score an extra goal. In the first moment they did it, it was brilliant.”

Pellistri has made five appearances for United’s first team since arriving from Penarol in 2020, registering one assist. The winger, who spent two loan spells at Alaves, also played three times for Uruguay at the recent World Cup.

While he has only made one Premier League appearance this season – that came against Leeds United in February – the winger could potentially get his chance against Southampton this weekend.

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