Andreas Pereira is a player who has been on quite a journey at Manchester United over the past year.
He began last season with an assist in a 4-0 win over Chelsea, but then faded and was exposed as United’s weak link amid a difficult start to the season.
He has not had much game time at all since the lockdown, before which he signed off with the fifth goal in the win over LASK over in Austria.
He was only selected as a substitute in this home fixture, and that will have been another confidence knock to him, you would have thought. Pereira’s last start came away at Club Brugge back in February.
His rollercoaster 12 months have meant he has had to toughen up a lot, mentally. This paid off, because when he came on, instead of looking like a player low in confidence, he was brimming with it.
Brazilian flair on show
Pereira came on for the final half an hour amid a double change with Paul Pogba, replacing Jesse Lingard and Fred.
His new bleached hair suggested a player who is trying to stand out, and his footwork on the ball underlined this.
Pereira was busy, pulling out all the tricks in his locker to try to create space and keep possession. He looked determined to make an impact.
He managed three successful dribbles, the same as Lingard managed in 63 minutes, and created one chance, becoming one of only four United players to record a key pass on the night.
What’s next for Pereira?
Pereira will likely be back to the bench for the Europa League quarter-final, and beyond. But he showed in this game that if he is called upon, he could be of some use.
We have been here before with Pereira. He has become the master of shining in pre-season and meaningless games, when the pressure is off, so we should not get too taken in by this.
Ultimately if he wants to play regular football, his best chance of doing so will lie with a move away from Old Trafford. If a decent offer comes in for him, United will probably take it.
Yet credit where it is due. Pereira came off the bench last night and played well. It’s only right to acknowledge it.
Here is a look at some of the fan reaction to Pereira’s lively performance…
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