Ten Hag concedes leaving Man Utd was best thing to happen to attacker who could wreak havoc this weekend

·3-min read
Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag Credit: Alamy
Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag admitted an attacker who could dump Man Utd out of the FA Cup this weekend simply had to leave Old Trafford for the benefit of his career.

Manchester United have already banked the EFL Cup this season to put an end to a trophy drought that dated back to 2017. A place in next season’s Champions League is on the cards, while further silverware could be lifted in the FA Cup and Europa League.

United’s task in the latter competition is arguably as difficult as it gets. Indeed, Friday’s draw that mapped out the route to the final in Budapest will see United face six-time winners Sevilla in the quarter finals.

Should they progress past the Spanish side, former Man Utd stars Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba – now of Juventus – could await. The alternative in the semi-finals is Sporting Lisbon who ousted Arsenal.

In any case, the FA Cup will take centre stage this weekend with United hosting Marco Silva’s high-flying Fulham. Among the many Fulham stars to shine this season is ex-Man Utd playmaker, Andreas Pereira.

The Brazilian was on United’s books between 2011-22, though spent the vast bulk of his time upon breaking into the senior set-up out on loan.

A moderately successful loan stint with Flamengo was expected to produce an outright sale last summer. However, the Brazilian side could not muster up the cash required to spring Pereira’s signing.

Instead, it was left to Ten Hag to make the final call on Pereira and the 27-year-old was subsequently sold to Fulham for £10m on July 11.

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Pereira thriving post-Man Utd

Pereira has featured in all 27 of Fulham’s league matches this term, notching two goals and six assists along the way.

He also scored in the FA Cup fourth round replay against Sunderland to help the Cottagers tee up their clash with Man Utd on Sunday.

Now, speaking ahead of the contest, Erik ten Hag admitted leaving Man Utd was the best thing that could’ve happened for Pereira.

The Dutchman acknowledged Pereira is a fine player in his own right and had prior knowledge of the Brazilian through their time together at PSV Eindhoven. However, Pereira leaving was a simple case of needing to take one step back to take two steps forward.

“He’s a good player,” said Ten Hag (via the Manchester Evening News). “I know him already a long time.

“I had him in the youth at PSV before he came here, I’m really happy for him, he’s progressing good.

“He has to play a regular base, he didn’t do it over several years at Manchester United. There comes a point you have to switch and take a step back to progress in the future.”

Pereira will display no loyalties to his former club on Sunday when attempting to oust Man Utd from the FA Cup.

The clash is scheduled to kick off at 4:30pm UK time.

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