Pellistri can handle the pressure

Tuesday 26 December 2023 08:00

Facundo Pellistri has shown maturity and confidence whenever called upon by Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.

The Uruguay international was entrusted with a start in the away game at Bayern Munich at the start of the UEFA Champions League and has been a regular member of the matchday squad.

Coming on in difficult circumstances at Liverpool recently, with United determined to secure a point from a dogged performance, it was noticeable how quickly he got himself in tune with the high-pressure, frenetic environment and the composure he displayed certainly bodes well for the future.

In an exclusive interview with United Review, the official matchday programme for the Boxing Day clash with Aston Villa, the well-spoken South American relayed how he has learned to adapt to such situations and reiterated his conviction that he will do his best to always be a reliable option for the boss.

Pellistri: Attitude and belief is key Video

Pellistri: Attitude and belief is key

Facundo Pellistri looks back on some big moments in his United career so far, before previewing our Boxing Day game...

At Anfield, he replaced Antony with eight minutes plus a chunk of injury time to go and helped see the Reds over the line, in terms of maintaining a clean sheet, even switching to defence in the wake of Diogo Dalot's late sending off for dissent.

“You have to think that it’s a football match and you've played a thousand football matches before," he said. "And it’s not something that you don’t know how to do. It’s something you do every day of your life.

"So you have to be calm and focused that you are going to help the team and then try to help the team. So I remember I entered the pitch and, unluckily, in the last minute, Diogo was sent off. So I had to play a bit last minute as a right-back. So you have to be ready and that’s why I told you it’s about the experience. You have to do all those things, you learn it from experience because, of course, in the first matches you play, you are nervous because it’s normal.

"But then, by gaining experience, you realise that you have to be calm and it’s just a football match, and you’ve played a lot of them before. You have to be focused that you are going to help the team and try to help the team. That works for me to be calm while I enter these kinds of matches.”

If he gets another opportunity to impress, against Unai Emery's high-flying Villa, he will look to play his part in ensuring the United faithful can enjoy some festive cheer at Old Trafford.

"I try my best," he asserted. "Every time I come on the pitch, every time the manager calls me, I’m ready for helping the team. And I will keep trying to do that, every time that he wants me to play. And every time he needs me, I will be ready to help the team.

"Every match here in the Premier League is tough. I think you can see every game, that [it] is tough, and [against] every team. We have to be focused and I think the most important part is that we have to pay attention with the attitude and the belief that we showed, for example, against Liverpool recently.

"I know, if we can do that, we can beat everyone and we are confident about that. Hopefully, we will have a nice Boxing Day.”