Joel Pereira reacts to making his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace

by Leo Nieboer

Joel Pereira has given his thoughts after making his first Premier League appearance during Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

The Portuguese, who made his Man United debut back in January against Wigan Athletic, was handed a chance to impress from the start against Palace as Jose Mourinho rested the majority of his key players ahead of the Europa League final.

He enjoyed a relatively trouble free afternoon, with his only notable contribution coming in the form of a sensational stop from a sweetly hit Luka Milivojevic free-kick in the second half.

And Pereira, speaking after claiming a clean sheet, expressed hopes that it would be the first of many in a United shirt.

“It was a great afternoon,” he said.

“Happy with the clean sheet and the performance from all the squad and the young boys as well, and a win at Old Trafford is always special, so very pleased.”

“I just told myself to go out there and enjoy and do your best and things will come. It was great, clean sheet, a good start and hopefully it is the first of many.”

Mourinho recently noted that Pereira has the capacity to become the greatest Portuguese keeper of his generation. Some might say that such an accolade places too much pressure on the 20-year-old’s shoulders; others might say that his manager is simply setting a high bar, urging the youngster to push himself further.

When Edwin van der Sar left, United struck gold by bringing in David de Gea and if the Spaniard leaves this summer, we look like we’ll be in a good position even if a replacement isn’t signed thanks to Sergio Romero and Pereira.

Yesterday’s routine win over Palace didn’t provide enough evidence to completely verify Mourinho’s prediction, but his save in the second half – from a pretty thunderous, accurate strike destined for the very corner – served as a promising indicator of what could come further down the line.

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