Manchester United’s upcoming Europa League opponents Sevilla are hoping for a ‘new manager bounce’ next month.
Sevilla sacked manager Jorge Sampaoli this week after winning only seven La Liga games all season.
After finishing in fourth place last season, Sevilla find themselves slumped down in 14th at present.
Manchester United host Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-final first leg on April 13, before the away leg a week later.
Facundo Pellistri’s extra incentive
Manchester United have plenty of motivation to beat Sevilla and move a step closer to another piece of silverware.
There is unfinished business with Sevilla after European defeats in 2018 and 2020.
For young winger Facundo Pellistri, there is a different type of motivation for success, and it’s personal.
This is related to Sevilla’s choice of boss to replace Sampaoli. They have chosen to appoint Jose Luis Mendilibar as manager.
Mendilibar was one of three managers at Deportivo Alaves last season, Facundo Pellistri’s loan side.
He was appointed in December, and made clear with his selection decisions he did not value Pellistri highly.
Mendilibar did not select Pellistri to start a single game, and selected him for a paltry 22 minutes of action across three substitute appearances.
Even with Pellistri making his international debut for Uruguay and impressing, when he returned to Alaves, Mendilibar continued to ignore him.
He was fired by Alaves in early April, by which point a crucial stretch of Pellistri’s 2021/22 season had been wasted.
It’s somewhat surprising Mendilibar is the manager Sevilla have turned to in their moment of need – but it could work to United’s advantage.
One year on since the lowest points of his Alaves spell, Facundo Pellistri is making in-roads towards the Manchester United first team.
Pellistri made his first Manchester United start last week against Real Betis, earning plaudits from supporters, pundits, and manager Erik ten Hag.
The young Uruguayan winger has a chance to make an impact over the two legs over Sevilla, and as he showed in the first leg against Real Betis, all he needs is a few minutes.
Pellistri will feel he has already proven his point to Mendilibar, but he can really drive it home by knocking his Sevilla side out.