Andreas Pereira produced his best performance yet for Valencia since arriving at the La Liga side on loan last month during their 3-2 win over Athletic Bilbao.
The Brazilian made his Valencia debut against Atletico Madrid before claiming an assist against Levante on his second start, only to be consigned to the bench for wins over Malaga and Real Sociedad.
But he was reintroduced to the starting line-up for the clash with Bilbao and produced an effervescent display, completing more dribbles (3) than anyone else on the pitch
His crowning moment of the game came in the build-up to Valencia’s first goal in the form of a perfectly weighted pass for Jose Gaya, who then teed up Simone Zaza to sweep home.
The 21-year-old, deployed on the left hand side, continued to inflict damage as the hosts took control and received a standing ovation from the Mestalla as he came off with 20 minutes left.
Valencia are now up to third in La Liga and will meet with Real Betis and second placed Sevilla following the international break, and the mood surrounding the club under new manager Marcelino is unequivocally positive.
There is an element of verve and freedom to Valencia’s play that hasn’t been there in recent years and Pereira, in turn, has a superb opportunity to flourish with an exciting group of players – and not a team bound for relegation like last season – over the next few months.