With Manchester United 3-1 down at the Amex Stadium against Brighton in August, Jose Mourinho made a double substitution at half-time.
Off went Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata and on came Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
It was little surprise but felt a little harsh on the Brazilian playmaker. During a pre-season when Jose Mourinho constantly bemoaned his lack of options, Pereira was granted an opportunity and grasped it.
Used to being deployed further forward, the former Valencia loanee adjusted with ease to a deep-lying playmaker role.
Pereira took that into the opening game of the Premier League season against Leicester. He was exceptional at the back of midfield; suddenly Mourinho had someone who could take the ball in tight areas and drive the team forward.
He rightly retained his place against Brighton but understandably lost confidence as United collapsed around him.
Experienced players were making mistakes; David de Gea, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, to name just three. But Mourinho substituted Pereira at half-time and perhaps it is telling that United’s pathetic fightback lacked even a hint of guile.
Paid the price for Brighton
Mourinho once more showed his lack of faith in young players with his treatment of Pereira after the Brighton debacle. He scapegoated Pereira.
Pereira was not even in the next two matchday squads; for the defeat against Spurs and the win over struggling Burnley.
He also did not feature against Watford, because of international commitments. His form was good enough to impress Brazil manager Tite, but Mourinho could not find room for him in his spluttering midfield.
14 minutes against Young Boys and 15 minutes against Wolves represent something of an olive branch, but not much.
Pereira must be recalled to the starting eleven for the visit of Derby in the EFL Cup. He has been unfairly scapegoated and jettisoned by Mourinho; especially in light of his impressive pre-season performances. It’s time for him to return to the fold.
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