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Facundo Pellistri is hungry for silverware and more opportunities after finally making his first start for Manchester United.
The Red Devils forked out 10 million euros (£9million) to sign the winger from Penarol in 2020, three years after the Uruguayan talent was first spotted by the club’s Argentinian academy scout.
Real Madrid, Juventus and Atletico Madrid had been linked with Pellistri before his switch to Old Trafford, where the 21-year-old has had to wait patiently for a first-team chance.
The winger had two loan spells at Alaves before making his competitive debut for United in January, taking a further step on Thursday when starting the 1-0 Europa League win at Real Betis.
“I’m really happy,” Pellistri told the PA news agency in Seville, having made his full debut 892 days after joining the club. “I really worked for this moment.
“Luckily we could win. It was our mission. We came here to win, we could win.
“The manager really trusts me, so I felt that confidence from him.
“He told me to run behind, to get the ball and enjoy, enjoy the moment. And of course, we came here to win.
“We really liked the long balls in the second half. Marcus (Rashford) could score there and we took the win.”
United’s victory in Seville saw them run out 5-1 winners on aggregate in a run-of-the-mill last-16 tie that will live long in the memory of the Pellistri family.
The 21-year-old impressed off the bench on his European debut last week and boss Erik ten Hag said he was “pretty pleased” with his 90-minute display at the bouncing Estadio Benito Villamarin.
“I managed to get my dad and my girlfriend here,” Pellistri said with a smile. “They were in the stadium, so they really enjoyed. I knew it two days ago when we prepared for the match.
“Hopefully it’s the start of this (for me). Of course I’m hungry. A lot of players in the group are really hungry, we have one amazing group.
We want to win every game and every trophy we are in
“We all push to the same side. Hopefully in the end of the season, we can win a lot of trophies.”
United have already lifted the Carabao Cup, with Ten Hag just the second manager in the club’s history to win a major trophy in his first season.
The Europa League quarter-finals await after beating Betis and Sunday brings a shot at Wembley in the FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham at Old Trafford.
Asked if there is a hunger for more trophies this season, Pellistri said: “Yes, of course. We want to win everything, as in the song that the fans sing. We want to win everything.
“That’s why we prepare and we train hard and that’s it. We want to win every game and every trophy we are in.”
That song was heard regularly in Seville, with fans bellowing out, ‘we’ve seen it all, we’ve won the lot, we’re Man United and we’re never going to stop’.
Pellistri, who spoke confidently in English, said: “I’m still learning but that one is the (song) I liked the most!”
The Uruguayan spoke with confidence befitting a United player but knows there is work to do after benefiting in Spain from the absences of Antony and Alejandro Garnacho.
Pellistri feels sorry for the latter after he sustained ankle ligament damage last Sunday – a similar issue to the one he endured in United’s final pre-season game, preventing him from going out on another loan.
“In pre-season I am always focused on football, so I never thought about the loan,” he said. “Then in the end, of course in the end of the window, you have to think about the loan.
“I got injured against Atletico. I knew that I was staying in Manchester United so, yeah, I was focused on the pre-season and now I’m focused on the next games and to help the team in the way I can.”
Asked if a loan could be on the cards next season, Pellistri added: “Of course being in a club like Manchester United you always want to be here. And we are very early to think about that.
“So now I’m focused on helping the team and to win, the more trophies we can this season. then we will see what happens.”
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