Jose Mourinho took two-and-a-half seasons to get near to unlocking Andreas Pereira’s potential. Ultimately he failed.
Interim Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to have cracked it in just two months.
Hands up, we admit it. When Pereira played in midfield and made a goal costing error against Burnley, last month we feared that could be the end of him.
It looked like he was not up to the standard United needed right now.
With his contract expiring, the young Brazilian was running out of chances at Old Trafford. When would his next one come?
To Solskjaer’s immense credit, he kept the faith, working with Pereira in training, before reintroducing him.
Yes, Pereira’s return was accelerated by injuries, but he has seized his chance.
At the weekend he really excelled himself, scoring a long range wondergoal in front of the Stretford End to draw United level against Southampton.
United went on to win the game 3-2, with Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace.
After the game, Solskjaer said he believes the key to Pereira’s success was playing him further forward, and pledged to do so more often. This is not something Jose Mourinho was willing to try.
Could Mourinho not see this? Or was he simply not willing to try?
Solskjaer told the Manchester Evening News: “He’s got loads of energy, drive, we maybe found a better position for him than as a number six, more of an eight or 10.
“He’s got high energy quality in his passing, crossing and shooting. So pleased for him, a goal and an assist, it’s a nice day for him to remember.
“Young kids at the start of their careers, when they get criticism there’s nothing better than seeing them grabbing their chance when they get it.”
Pereira could be set for a starting role against PSG this week, in an attacking position.
With Alexis Sanchez suffering a knee injury at the weekend against Southampton, and Paul Pogba suspended, United’s options are stretched.
It would be fantastic to see Pereira continue his progression with a strong performance.