2019-02-12 by W.M.
Andreas Pereira: Jose Mourinho Exit Has Lifted Weight off Man United Players | Bleacher Report
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images
Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira has said the team are playing “with 10 kilograms less on our backs” following the departure of former manager Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho was given his marching orders at Old Trafford in December having watched his team surrender to a 3-1 loss at Liverpool; their start to the 2018-19 term was the Red Devils’ worst of the Premier League era.
However, the team’s fortunes have drastically improved since the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer until the end of the season. Speaking to Esporte Interativo (h/t Lucas Sposito of Sport Witness), Pereira previewed Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain and how the mood has changed at the club:
“We’re doing great, we’re playing well. If we play at home with the joy of the fans, with this support, I think we can try to risk a little more at home to make a good result and maybe hold later. But everything will depend on the first game. …
“It was amazing (Solskjaer coming in). We seem to be playing with 10 kg less than on our backs, in training.”
Under Mourinho, the Red Devils’ season was going nowhere. Since Solskjaer arrived, the supporters have started to dream big again.
Not only has the club’s former forward enjoyed 10 wins and a draw from his 11 matches in charge, he appears intent on keeping standards high:
James Robson @jamesrobsonES
Solskjaer on 10 wins from 11 games: “I think the lads are still disappointed about the two points we dropped against Burnley” #mufc
Following the 3-0 win enjoyed by United against Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday, Goal’s Kris Voakes put the records of Mourinho and Solskjaer into context:
Kris Voakes @krisvoakes
Manchester United now have 8 wins in 9 league games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
They had 7 wins in 17 league games under Jose Mourinho. #MUFC
While it’s clear Solskjaer has integrated new methods and tactics, the most significant change at United seems to be the morale of the players.
Suddenly a number of key performers who appeared bogged down under Mourinho are shining for the new man. The most notable example has been Paul Pogba, who was an unused substitute in the former boss’ final game and now looks like a force of nature since Mourinho’s successor was appointed.
Solskjaer does deserve massive credit for bringing the fun back to United’s football. As former Norway striker Jan Aage Fjortoft relayed, it’s something that has been noticed in the coach’s homeland:
Jan Aage Fjortoft @JanAageFjortoft
If you wondered if Norway 🇳🇴 are in Solskjær- wonderland now. This is our biggest paper #vg.
“53 days with smiles”
Pereira is still fighting to get regular football at United, having started just three Premier League games so far this season. The last time he was involved in the XI was in the 2-2 draw with Burnley, when he made an error in the buildup to one of the Clarets’ goals.
While he is unlikely to be involved in the showdown with PSG, with Marouane Fellaini moving on in January the path to the first team appears clearer for Pereira. The challenge for him now will be to impress Solskjaer, especially with the chances seemingly improving that he’ll be handed the job permanently in the summer.