Manchester United recently witnessed injuries pilling up, leading to shortage of key players available for Solskjær. The absence of United’s primary attacking duo of Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial is still visible who are recovering on the sidelines. Meanwhile, midfielders Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matić are also absent from the field thus opening up opportunities for other sidelines United midfielders like Andreas Pereira.
The absence of these key players however led to opportunities given by the interim manager. One of them is academy graduate Andreas Pereira, who got the chance to feature in the midfield for the Red Devils. The Belgium-born Brazil international not just started against Southampton but also featured on the score-sheet in style.
The #15 scored an amazing equaliser outside the box, curling inside Angus Gunn’s net with his right foot (leaving him helpless). Later on, the home spectators witnessed a brace by Lukaku with United ensuring all the +3 points from this fixture. The Belgian received one assist from Pereira in the process.
This was a huge boost for Ole Gunnar Solskjær. The Norwegian was looking forward to this, this helped Andreas Pereira in justifying his inclusion in the second leg of UCL R16 against Paris Saint Germain. The Parisians took a 0-2 away goal lead from Old Trafford, adding pressure on United when they came to le Parc des Princes for the 2nd leg and his performance along with Fred and McTominay helped United secure a majestic 1-3 victory to progress to the next round.
The performance against Southampton has uplifted Andreas’ confidence, who is looking forward for more matches as a starter, under the tenure of the Norwegian. The academy graduate had a rough time with previous manager Jose Mourinho (who was eager to keep Andreas Pereira at Old Trafford but wasn’t able to provide him with playing time). Pereira had featured for Granada and C.F. Valenica on a season-long loan deal previously. He had scored only a solitary goal against Real Betis, while featuring for Los Che.
Although Pereira is getting chances to start for United as of now, the situation seems tight (keeping in mind the return of key players from sidelines). The new Brazil international is one of those players, who has been immensely benefited from Solskjær’s adept man management. His youth coach Paul McGuinness speaking about Pereira had said :
“Andreas can score, he can shoot with both feet, he can take free kicks and corners, create goals and be a crowd pleaser,”
“He’s a playmaker, an inside forward, although he can play up front. He can beat people. He could be a star.”
Looking at how Belgian outlet Het Nieuwsblad reports about United extending the contract of the 23 year old by triggering a key clause in his contract, it will certainly serve as a win-win situation for both the parties involved.
For United, they get an experienced talented youngster, who can be used as a super-sub for its current key players. Meanwhile, a contract extension for Pereira can be a new ray of hope, as he will be looking forward to ink his name as a regular in Solskjær’s roster (especially in the PL).
The Norwegian manager will undoubtedly be looking forward to managing the youngster through a key period in his development specially given how popular the young Brazilian has already proved to be in the dressing room. The midfielder can speak English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
Pereira seems more determined and focused than ever before to show his capability as a player, and needs to continue to fight to prove his worth in an immensely talented dressing room to secure a permanent position in the United starting XI for the years to come.