November 28, 2023

Manchester United must not let a potential game-changer leave during the summer window.

Manchester United must not let a potential game-changer leave during the summer window.

Manchester United must not let a potential game-changer leave during the summer window.

When Manchester United‘s opening day of the season finally arrived, it was as disappointing as a lackluster fireworks display.

No, it was not the upbeat, statement-making start to the season that would have capped off the optimism generated by a strong summer transfer window. Rather, it was a drab, depressing affair that reflected the negative mood of the dissenting fans inside and outside Old Trafford. If you had asked a person with no prior knowledge which teams had only had their manager for five days, it is unlikely they would have identified Wolves.

Gary O’Neil had less than a week to prepare his team, but they appeared well-drilled and threatening on the counter-attack, whereas United were as soft-centred as a luxury chocolate – they had an attractive exterior but melted under the slightest amount of pressure. The new midfield formation requires time to coalesce, but Mason Mount’s debut was unpromising, as he was not progressive with the ball and left Casemiro with a lot of work to do.

Erik ten Hag was left with the same front line that struggled to generate and score goals last season, so it’s hardly surprising that the attack was not improved. Marcus Rashford was once again utilized in his unfavorite central position and struggled to make an impact on the game. Alejandro Garnacho continued to attempt to make things happen, but his impulsive decisions prevented him from having the same impact from the start as he does off the bench. Antony also made numerous incorrect passes, and Anthony Martial’s fitness rendered him unfit for substitution.

Ten Hag said of his offense, “I believe we could have scored five or six turnovers, and there were overloads, but I believe the frontline was not in the best shape today, and we could have gotten more out of the overload situations.”

We scored some spectacular goals last week. This week, it’s the day’s form and we didn’t use it, but it will arrive. We must move with the object while remaining compact. Once we have achieved cohesion, we must be combative in the duels. Today, we lost several battles and counterattacks that you permit.”

Facundo Pellistri, who was substituted in just after the goal and made his 11th United appearance and fourth in the Premier League, did have a positive impact. Once again, he made the most of his limited time. The Uruguayan introduced energy and urgency to the attack, which had been lifeless all evening until he entered the fray.

United were under attack in the final 15 minutes, and only Andre Onana kept them ahead, but Pellistri once again demonstrated that he can add a new dimension to United’s attack. In a world of wingers who are always cutting inside, a genuine directness that can get things done.
However, it remains uncertain where Pellistri will play football this season. The fact that he was given a late cameo on opening day indicates he is in the manager’s plans, and Amad’s injury likely precludes it, but there is still a strong chance he will depart on another loan move before the transfer deadline.

Despite the fact that their offensive stock may appear impressive on paper, it is not the most impressive armament, and Amad and Rasmus Hojlund’s absences have already left them with very few options. It would be unwise to contemplate releasing a player who has repeatedly demonstrated, even with limited playing time, the ability to change a game with his skill, speed, and simple wing play.

Instead of being shown the door, Pellistri has earned additional opportunities this season.

Manchester United must not let a potential game-changer leave during the summer window.

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