Jose Mourinho has expressed his disappointment with Andreas Pereira’s decision to join Valencia on loan for this season, noting he should have stayed at Old Trafford and fought for his place instead.
Supporters had good reason to expect Pereira to feature under Mourinho this season: the Brazilian had just enjoyed a seminal nine months in La Liga with Granada, during which he made the top five – just behind Lionel Messi and Neymar – for most completed dribbles throughout the 2016/17 campaign. A positive pre-season spell followed with United, with Pereira impressing at No.10 against Real Madrid alongside showing his steel – garnered, no doubt, during a thankless relegation battle the year before – in central midfield on several occasions.
And Mourinho, speaking soon after the 2-0 win over Leicester City, was quick to imply that players of Pereira’s ilk would receive their chance to impress at Old Trafford and clearly wanted the youngster to continue to develop at Carrington. But the 21-year-old had other ideas, choosing to move back to La Liga in the interest of optimising minutes on the pitch and improving as a player, despite being well-positioned at a big club.
He ultimately joined Valencia on a season-long loan with no option to buy on deadline day soon after agreeing a new contract with United that keeps him at the club until 2019 and could make his debut for Los Che against Atletico Madrid at the Mestalla on Saturday.
But Mourinho, speaking at a press conference ahead of his side’s trip to Stoke City, was quick to note that he didn’t approve of Pereira’s perceived lack of readiness to fight for a place under his tutelage.
“Andreas Pereira was a personal decision that I don’t agree with,” he said.
“A decision I don’t think honestly I don’t think is the best decision for him, a decision that disappoints me a little bit, because I think he has the potential to be here fighting for a position, for opportunities, and fighting to be a Manchester United player.
“I think his decision can be considered a decision of a young player who wants to play every weekend but can also be considered a decision by a young player that is not ready to fight for something difficult and it’s difficult to play in the Manchester United midfield.
“You have to be ready to fight for a position and I am a bit disappointed that he left. But okay, it was his decision, I open the door for his decision, he has a long-term contract, we have the option to bring him back on January 1, so we have that situation under control. It is not a drama but is a decision that disappoints me a little bit.”