Joel Pereira has expressed his delight after making his Manchester United debut during a 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup fourth round.
The Portuguese begun this season on loan at Belenenses but was recalled last month after Sam Johnstone joined Aston Villa on loan.
He was introduced after 80 minutes against Warren Joyce’s side, replacing Sergio Romero as Man United cruised to a comfortable victory.
And Pereira, speaking after the game, was quick to voice his delight following his first appearance for the senior side.
“Me and my family are very happy,” he said. “They were watching at home on the TV. I have already spoken to them on the phone; they congratulated me and we are all very happy.
“I want to thank the manager for the opportunity to play here at Old Trafford; it is very important to me.
“This is only a little part of my career. I want to play many more games for this club. It’s just step by step and I will keep focusing and training and see where that takes me.
“When we scored the third goal, Mourinho just said ‘go and get warm. So I just went and got ready. When you’re on the bench you always hope that you can come on, so I was delighted to get the opportunity.”
It is incredibly rare to see a goalkeeper come on for an almost Michael Owen-eqsue ten minute run-around at the end of a game. Then again, Mourinho ought to still be remembered as the maverick that sent ripples across the European game over ten years ago, and his decision to hand Pereira a debut that nobody expected falls in line with his enigmatic charm.
And so there he was, Pereira, standing in acres of space, clearly overwhelmed by being involved at such short notice, having to do absolutely nothing as United begun to showboat in Wigan’s half. The youngster will be delighted, whilst also determined to test himself in a more challenging environment as the season goes.