Facundo Pellistri and Alejandro Garnacho.

Why Ten Hag doesn't hand out opportunities

Saturday 28 January 2023 07:00

Erik ten Hag wants young attackers Alejandro Garnacho and Facundo Pellistri to keep showing him that they deserve the chance to feature in his Manchester United side.

The South American duo will be champing at the bit to be involved in Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie with Reading, having made substitute appearances during Wednesday’s 3-0 success at Nottingham Forest.

The former has played 18 times under Ten Hag this season, scoring two goals and Facundo’s cameo at The City Ground followed his competitive debut against Charlton Athletic – also in the Carabao Cup – earlier this month.

While the narrative around the domestic cup competitions can be of managers giving young players their moment in the spotlight, Erik continues to insist that this involvement is merited – a requirement both Garnacho and Pellistri pair are currently fulfilling.

Ten Hag discusses Pellistri option


The boss feels Facundo can offer something different with his skillset.

“I never, never let players get opportunities,” Erik began, in his matchday Q&A ahead of the Royals’ visit to M16.

“A player has to deserve opportunities and they’re doing that by their performances on the training pitch, by their performances when they are on the pitch on the match day.

“That’s what I expect and they did quite well. We have seen Garnacho already over a long period and Pellistri is now coming in.”

On Friday, Ten Hag suggested that Pellistri would not be going out on loan this January, with the Uruguayan having proved his value to the squad.

Our no.28 was heavily involved in Bruno Fernandes’s late goal against Forest and also registered an assist during an impressive cameo during the quarter-final with Charlton.

Pellistri has had a strong few months personally, following from his three games with Uruguay at the 2022 World Cup but he knows that he can’t rest on his laurels, especially under the watchful eye of our Dutch manager.

Ten Hag weighs up loans for young Reds


Erik was asked whether the likes of Williams, Iqbal and Pellistri could leave temporarily in this transfer window.

“Now he also gets the experience to be in men’s football,” Ten Hag added.

“He did some really good stuff and we’re happy with that but also I hope he knows that he has to step up to be often chosen, to be often on the pitch and so by deserving that position.

“Therefore you have to perform every day and every minute you get.”

Read Erik’s full matchday Q&A from 09:00 GMT on Saturday.