Andreas Pereira demonstrated why he belongs at No.10 with an effervescent display during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.
Deployed just in behind the attacking pair of Marcus Rashford and Daniel James, the Brazilian performed the dual task of counter-pressing whilst also setting up attacks by bursting forward with the ball.
The sheer level of application and hunger for exploiting gaps in behind somewhat epitomised the character of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s game-plan against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
As shown by the stats below, Pereira played a crucial role when it came to squeezing Liverpool – and specifically Fabinho.
Andreas Pereira vs. Liverpool:
• joint most ball recoveries (10)
• joint most interceptions (3)
Really effective in the press. 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/mZVKNS1AgV
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 20, 2019
Many have questioned why Solskjaer continues to pick Pereira, despite there being no obvious purpose behind his presence on the pitch.
Well, this is why. Indeed, Pereira has seemed like neither an outright midfielder nor a designated outright attacker since being in the first team, and that is because his true calling is serving as an amalgamation of both – pressing hard down the centre and using that momentum to construct – or even round off – attacks going forward, all while having a decent free-kick on him as well.
Having wing-backs supporting him and forwards looking to make runs in behind, Pereira suddenly came alive. Solskjaer has found the ideal position for him.