Manchester United youth product Andreas Pereira has admitted he received a confidence boost after his glittering performance as the Under-21’s sparked a late comeback against Chelsea.
The 19-year-old netted the opener as the Reds overcame the Under-21 Premier League league leaders, and saw his tantalising free-kick beat Mitchell Beeney from an impressive distance. Watching another set-piece tipped over the bar, courtesy of a fine save from the keeper, he then provided a pin-point cross for Tom Thorpe to head home a late winner.
Pereira has begun to shape a reputation as a dead-ball expert under Warren Joyce and Paul McGuinness, and was pleased to score from a set-piece against one of the toughest opponents in the country. His third goal of the campaign for the Red Devils, Pereira commented:
"It was a very good game and I'm very happy we could win it in the last minutes. When we scored, the game changed and everyone started to believe again. When I equalised, I got a bit of confidence and we played better and better.
"I hadn't scored a free-kick for a long while so I'm very happy to get one - I just have to keep practising. I'm very happy with the second goal as well as it was a great header [by Thorpe]."
The Brazilian midfielder adopted a more attacking role on the field, and adopted to the right-wing of a front three, allowing his to showcase his creativity from a wider role than usual.
"Yes, it's a different role but the coach asked me to play there and I just do what the coach asks me to do," he added. "It was better as well because attacking-wise I can be a good player, so it was good for me. I always try to do my best for the team."
Despite being born in Belgium, Pereira has represented the South American greats as an Under-20 international, after initial inclusions in the Belgian Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 squads. Earning praise from Joyce following his performance, the manager explained:
"I thought he showed a lot of quality all night in a different role that we asked him to do. His understanding was good and he was a constant threat when drifting into clever positions. I thought he put in a shift for the team as well, working without the ball.
"We didn't have enough controlled possession at times to really put our plans into place when we had the ball but he was certainly a threat on the counter. He helped drive the game towards the end and put us back in it."
Pereira made his senior debut earlier in the season in the Capital One Cup, during a 4-0 defeat to Milton Keynes Dons.