Manchester United’s Belgian-born Brazilian Andreas Pereira will continue his education at Valencia this season, after agreeing to join the La Liga side until 30 June 2018, while also extending his contract at Old Trafford.
It is the 21-year-old’s second temporary move to Spain following a previous 2016/17 spell with Granada in which he scored five goals in 37 appearances. Although the club was unfortunately relegated to the second division, the whole experience proved to be extremely beneficial.
Looking back, how do you assess your season-long loan spell at Granada?
It was a good season for me personally. For the team, it was not. We had difficult times but I learned a lot, playing under pressure and trying not to go down. The fans were very good with me, the fans welcomed me and the people at the club were very nice too. So I have to appreciate what they did for me all through the season. It was a very good welcome and I felt at home there.
Specifically, what do you think you learned about being a professional footballer?
Every day work to prepare for the game. You are playing every weekend so it is a different preparation during the work. I think I learned a lot about that. To be more consistent every week, that is definitely something that I learned from the season.
How different was the style of play in La Liga?
It was very different. It is more like tactical play and it is not as physical as the Premier League. In the beginning I had to adapt a bit because I was taking a lot of yellow cards! I was a bit too aggressive in the duels and it was a different type of play.
Out of 10, how do you rate the whole experience?
The whole experience for me was an eight. I learned a lot, unfortunately we went down as a team, but for me personally it was good. I scored my goals, I did well for the team and I tried my best.
How did you adjust to moving to away from Manchester and living in Spain?
In the beginning, I had to adapt because it was very hot. I arrived on the first day in a jumper! It is very hot over there, in training it is difficult, but you get used to the warm weather.
Did you live alone over there, with friends or with family?
I lived alone but I don’t like to stay alone for quite a while, so I bought a dog! My dad always came to visit me too, to watch the games, so most of the time I was with my family. If not, then I was with some friends, and even Joel [Pereira] came by. I got a dog there, I didn’t have one. When I came back from training I was alone, so I said I needed somebody here. I bought a dog and every time I went home the dog was waiting for me.
Did you have to grow up a little bit off the pitch, by taking care of your life and house?
It was a bit different for me because, in England, I live with my parents here. When I went there, I had to learn how to live alone, how to do stuff for myself, so I think I matured outside of football.
Was there anything that surprised you about being away from United at a smaller club?
In the beginning, it was very different. It is a world of difference between the two clubs. When you are over there you imagine how big United is and you appreciate how big the club is, how nice the people are and the work that is done for you outside of the pitch.
What was the best moment for you?
I played my first game and I played well. I played in the big games and I played quite well. But picking one moment is difficult. I scored some goals but it is not always about the goals.
What was it like to play against Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann?
It was very special. The first game we played at Barcelona was very special, in the big stadium. You got the feeling again of playing at Old Trafford. You got the same feelings. A big club. I kind of missed United that day. I missed playing at Old Trafford in a big stadium. I kept me motivated as well, to come back, work hard and do well.
Did it make you feel like you can compete at the top level?
Yeah in some ways. When we were playing against them and I was playing well, I was thinking ‘If I can do well against Barcelona then I can go back and do good against other teams too’. Of course it is difficult to just say that, though, after a few games.
Arsenal legend Tony Adams was working at Granada behind the scenes and he was named manager for the final two months. What was he like to work with?
With me, personally, it was very good. He told me what to do in training and in the games. He said these things would give me an advantage when I go back to Manchester and English football. He helped me a lot and I am very happy to have worked with him.
Was he supportive of you and your talent?
It was very good with him. He understood that I was on loan there so he tried to help me, to develop and go back to United.
Did you return to United a better player than when you left?
Yeah, better for sure and more experienced. In situations on the pitch, I feel more calm. I know what to do because of the experience and I hope to use that in my career.
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