Pundits Owen Hargreaves and Paul Scholes were impressed by one of Manchester United’s substitutes during Thursday night’s win over Real Betis.
United made relatively easy work of Betis in their Europa League round of 16 first leg on Thursday night. The Red Devils needed a big response following their disastrous showing against Liverpool over the weekend, and they delivered. Erik ten Hag stuck with his starting XI for the Old Trafford clash, while Manuel Pellegrini made changes to his attack ahead of a big game with Villarreal this weekend.
The Red Devils took full advantage, despite going in at the break level following goals from Marcus Rashford and Ayoze Perez. Antony, bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst were all on target in the second half, and United surely have a spot in the quarter-finals in the bag, even with a second leg in Seville still to play next week.
But it was a player that did not manage a goal that caught the attention of Scholes and Hargreaves. Facundo Pellistri came off the bench to produce a bright cameo, playing a big part in Weghorst’s goal by putting together a superb dribble.
“I was amazed how quick he was,” Hargreaves said on BT Sport. “A lot of the guys, you see Jaden (Sancho) and Antony, they slow down and come inside, but he doesn’t want any of that. He just gets out the outside, old-school sprinting past people. When he does that, I think the forwards know when the ball is going to come. A lot of the other wingers, they take a lot of touches. But to be fair, that was a brilliant cameo, and I think United fans will want to see more of him.”
With the tie seemingly in the bag, Scholes was asked whether United fans can expect to see more of Pellistri in the second leg.
“Yeah, I’m sure we could,” he repied. “I just think with Ten Hag that he doesn’t like making many changes. He likes it when players have rhythm in the game, but you would have to think with the schedule they have had, these players need a rest now. Luke Shaw looked like he needed a rest, Casemiro possibly needs a rest. These young players, they’ve had a bit of a taste of European football, and hopefully that will stand them in good stead of the future.”