Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has blamed PSG star Lionel Messi for Alejandro Garnacho’s “attitude problem” at Manchester United.
Scholes thinks Garnacho’s attitude issues at the beginning of this season may have been a result of playing alongside Messi at the international level.
The young player, who transferred to United from Atletico Madrid in October 2020, scored his first professional goal for the team on Thursday night, scoring the game-winning goal in their 1-0 Europa League victory over Real Sociedad. The 18-year-old seized on Cristiano Ronaldo’s superb ball and blasted a perfectly timed shot past Alex Remiro.
Although the Reds’ third straight victory in all competitions was won thanks to his first-half performance, it was not enough to secure the group’s top spot. To top the group and avoid an unwelcome Europa League play-off round against a third-place Champions League team in February, they needed to win by a score of two goals or more.
Despite how disappointing that was, Garnacho’s performance was encouraging, just like it was last week when he faced Sheriff Tiraspol at Old Trafford.
After having a challenging start to the season as he struggled to find consistent opportunities, he has started United’s last two Europa League games.
Last week, manager Erik ten Hag made a suggestion that Garnacho’s lack of respect during the early weeks of the season was due to attitude issues. Despite the enthusiasm surrounding him, he did not play a single minute on the preseason tour of Thailand and Australia.
And following the win over Sociedad, Bruno Fernandes also hinted that attitude troubles had forced the youngster to be overlooked at the start of the campaign.
Fernandes told BT Sport: “He did well tonight, but he knows we still expect a lot from him. He did not start the best during pre-season and maybe did not have the attitude that he should have had. But he has changed that now and you can see that with his performances on the pitch.”
Former Manchester United star Scholes, who was covering the triumph over Sociedad as a commentator for BT Sport, responded to Fernandes’ comments. He believed that rubbing shoulders with Messi after being called up to Argentina’s senior squad could have influenced Garnacho’s mentality.
“He said that was in pre-season, so maybe he was too big for his boots in the summer,” Scholes told BT Sport. “He did go with Argentina and play with Messi, and maybe he has come back and thought ‘this is me and I am part of this team’.
“He’s a young lad, he is going to learn and we are going to see the benefits of that.”