Pereira backed by boss Ole as critics hit out
OLE Gunnar Solskjaer insists Andreas Pereira is ‘improving all the time’ amid criticism of his performances for United.
The midfielder started his 12th Premier League game of the season against Aston Villa and was culpable for Jack Grealish’s superb opener as the Reds dropped more points in a 2-2 draw.
Some United matchgoers vented their dismay at Pereira before he assisted Marcus Rashford to force in the equaliser, eventually credited as an own goal from Tom Heaton.
Solskjaer has primarily played
Pereira as a playmaker or on the right wing this term but injuries to Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic have left him with a central midfield shortage.
United sold Marouane Fellaini to Shandong Luneng in February and Ander Herrera left on a free for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. Neither have been replaced.
Though Solskjaer was positive about Pereira, he admitted he was having to cover for more experienced options.
“Andreas is improving all the time,” Solskjaer said. “He’s a young boy working hard every single day to improve his game and he’s played a few games this year. We found, more or less, his position. He’s an attacking midfielder.
“Of course, when you lack your three more experienced ones with Nemanja, Paul and Scott, Andreas has to cover that role and he’s doing a job for the team.”
United briefly led through Victor Lindelof ’s 64th-minute header before Tyrone Mings volleyed in to earn Villa a deserved draw.
The Reds have won just four of their 14 league fixtures this term and Solskjaer has a 48 per cent win ratio from his 50 matches in charge.
“First half, it seemed like we couldn’t get to grips with going 1-0 down,” Solskjaer reflected.
“But when you concede a goal as early as that at Old Trafford you’ve got plenty of time to get back into the game.
“But we didn’t deal with that particularly well and were lucky to go in at half-time one each.
“Second half was good, we put pressure on them, created chances.
“Yeah, they had a decent chance with Grealish but we created loads of big ones and should have won this game.
“But overall, we didn’t deserve to. Especially after the first half.
“We are a young team, I don’t want to use that as an excuse, because we’re Man United and we want to get a run. As soon as we get a run of three or four games, that’s what these boys need, I feel.
“And we just have to make sure we do everything right now until Wednesday, because it’s a quick turnaround.”