Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira

Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira has told ESPN Brasil that Jose Mourinho contacted him regularly last season to let him know that he was going “to have a future” at Old Trafford.

The 22-year-old made 13 appearances for the first team during Louis van Gaal’s tenure before Mourinho opted to send him on loan to Granada and Valencia the following campaigns in order to secure more regular time in La Liga.

Pereira made the most of the opportunity to impress Mourinho, and the United boss showed his faith in the Belgium-born Brazil youth international last week by giving him a starting role in the 2-1 victory over Leicester City.

“I am very happy to be back this year here,” Pereira said. “After two years out there are new things. I am very happy to be here and very proud. I’m very happy. It is a very happy moment for me. I have to thank the manager and my family. I came here because of him, thanks to opportunity he gave me, and to my family.

“He [Mourinho] helps me a lot. He tells me what to do inside and off the pitch. He gives me advice and he’s tough when he needs to be. He is a very fair manager. He helps me a lot. I am very happy that he is here. He gives me the opportunity to play and off the pitch he is a great guy, very calm. He talks to me like a friend. I am very happy.

“When I was in Spain, before the important games, he sent me messages. I am very happy that he had faith in me. When I left the club he kept in contact. He always told me I would have a future at Manchester United and now I’m seeing that, so I’m very grateful to him.”

Pereira had an impressive performance playing in midfield alongside Paul Pogba and Fred, and is determined to build on it to remain in the line-up in the coming games.

“Now I have to continue doing the work I’m doing, continue playing,” Pereira said. “Trying to improve to prove the manager and the team that I can play, that I can help the team.

“Of course there is competition. It’s normal in such a big club,. Now that I play as a midfielder I have to build the team game and help defensively. I have to steal the ball and help the midfielders. I have to do a little bit of everything, attack, defend and help the whole team.”

After impressing with Valencia and now Manchester United, Pereira has been linked with a call-up to the Brazil national team.

“My whole family is in Brazil,” Pereira said. “I am the son of Brazilian parents. I am Brazilian with Belgian nationality. I was born in Belgium because my father played football there but my parents are Brazilian and my family is Brazilian. I always see Brazil as my home. Every time I have the opportunity I go.”

Pereira also spoke about the meeting he had with Sir Alex Ferguson when he first joined the club.

“I arrived here at the age of 16. I did not expect to see him,” he said. “I was in a room to have lunch. And I saw him in a hallway and I couldn’t believe it. I was with my father and he said good day to me in Portuguese. He told me that he always had space for a Brazilian on his team.

“I didn’t want to know about anything else, I just wanted to sign the contract as quickly as possible. I’ve never forgotten that moment.”

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