Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag reckons Facundo Pellistri can cause Bayern Munich left-back Alphonso Davies problems when these two European giants lock horns. The Red Devils face Bayern at the Allianz Arena in their return to UEFA Champions League football tonight (September 20).
Ten Hag has made a bold call by naming Pellistri in his starting lineup for the first time in the player’s career.
Ten Hag explained why the Uruguayan youngster is starting on the right wing against the Bundesliga champions. He seemingly has a plan to exploit Davies who he suggests isn’t the best defensively. He told TNT Sports (via UtdPlug):
“Davies isn’t a great defender. (Pellistri) can match Davies with his dribbling.”
Pellistri spent the past week representing Uruguay in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying duty. Erik ten Hag suggested that he may have started in his side’s miserable 3-1 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion on the weekend if not for travel.
“Pelli [Pellistri] is doing very well over a long period. He was coming from South America to start against Brighton… tough journey,” he added.
The Uruguayan finally has his chance to shine for Manchester United after warming the bench for a long period. He’s made three substitute appearances this season amounting to 23 minutes of action.
Pellistri is up against Davies who Ten Hag may not view as the most dependable defensively, which comes as a surprise. Many regard the Canada international as one of Europe’s most talented full-backs. He has made 158 appearances across competitions for Bayern at just 22. He has scored eight goals and provided 28 assists.
Davies knows all about playing in big games as he was part of the Bavarians side that won the UEFA Champions League in 2020. It will be intriguing to see who comes out on top between the Canadian and Manchester United’s Pellistri.
Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel isn’t underestimating Manchester United
Bayern and United have made wholly contrasting starts to the season with Thomas Tuchel’s men impressing in the Bundesliga. They have won three of four games and have been buoyed by the signing of Harry Kane. The English superstar has bagged four goals and one assist in five games across competitions.
Meanwhile, Ten Hag’s Red Devils have made a dismal start to the campaign, losing three of five league games. His side were deservedly beaten by Brighton last Saturday and are massive underdogs at the Allianz Arena.
However, Tuchel is still wary of the threat Manchester United pose, particularly in difficult situations. He said ahead of the two European heavyweights’ clash (via iMiaSanMia):
“Their results so far don’t say much about them. You can never be sure in a game against United. When you think you’re in control, they can sit deep and rely on their outstanding transition game, with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and now Rasmus Højlund up front.”
The United trio all start at the Allianz tonight and will be hoping to secure a famous win. Red Devils fans still remember the famous 1999 Champions League final which saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s men secure a last-gasp 2-1 comeback win to lift the European title.