Struggling Man Utd loanee names star he wants to usurp in Solskjaer’s team

Facundo Pellistri, August 2021

Manchester United winger Facundo Pellistri says that he is targeting a role in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team amid his struggles for game time at Alaves.

The 19-year-old moved to United in October 2020 following the Red Devils’ failure to land Jadon Sancho that summer. Indeed, he signed alongside former Atalanta teenager Amad Diallo in an exciting double swoop.

After moving on loan to Alaves for the second half of last season, Pellistri has gone to the Spanish club again this term.

The Uruguayan struggled for minutes in La Liga in 2020/21 and hoped he would fare differently. However, United now face a decision over whether to recall him and perhaps send him elsewhere.

Pellistri has yet to complete a 90-minute stint at Alaves this term. What’s more, his biggest recent contribution came with a 45-minute appearance in mid-September.

Speaking to The Athletic, the forward insisted that he wants to play on the right wing in manager Solskjaer’s team.

Still, he referenced Sancho‘s arrival as one big reason why he left to get more game time. But amid his battle for match action, he opened up on his frustrations.

“I am looking for minutes, I want to play, to start, to get experience in the different type of matches,” Pellistri said. “I want to play on the right wing, but I can play on the left.

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“When you come on as a substitute, the match story has already been written, it’s difficult and you don’t always play in your natural position.

“And I want to improve by playing and go back to Manchester a better player and get into the first team, but first I need to get used to Europe and be playing regularly. I’m only 19, but regular playing time is important.”

Back in Manchester, Sancho has played a regular role for United but has yet to score his first goal.

The £summer signing was one of the reasons Pellistri – who played in United’s pre-season – decided to leave.

Pellistri wants match action

Facundo Pellistri

“I felt stronger in the first team, I scored in a game at Derby for the first team,” he said.

“It was a very hard pre-season, the hardest I’ve ever had. Physically, you are really pushed, the training is such a high level.

“New players came in, including in my position (Jadon Sancho) so I thought it was a good idea to go on loan again. The best thing for a player is to play, and for a young player, to get experience.”

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Elsewhere in the interview, Pellistri revealed how his signature almost cost him his move to United.

He had begun to use a more “grown-up” signature to the one which resembled that of a “baby” – written as F.A.C.U.N.D.O P.E.L.L.I.S.T.R.I. – he had used.

However, the transfer forms had to be rewritten and reprinted, because his old signature which was on earlier paperwork.

As such, United had to ask for an hour’s extension to the deadline.

“I was so worried because if the paperwork was not right, I could not sign for United but I also wouldn’t be able to play for Penarol,” Pellistri said.

“My girlfriend kept refreshing United’s website to see if I had signed. Finally, she shouted, ‘Look! Manchester have put you on their page!’ We all started to celebrate.”

Alaves are next in action when they face Real Betis next Monday. Man Utd, meanwhile, face Leicester on Saturday.