Erik ten Hag says he has nothing but respect for former Manchester United star Andreas Pereira as he prepares to return to Old Trafford for the first time.
Pereira joined United aged 16 but never became a mainstay in the first-team and last summer he decided to end his 11-year stay at the club.
The midfielder joined Fulham for £10million and has become a key player under Marco Silva, with the Cottagers enjoying a surprisingly great first season back in the Premier League.
The west-London side are currently ninth in the table and have reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup where they will face United on Sunday.
Ahead of the match, Pereira opened up on his decision to leave, revealing he did not even speak to Ten Hag before choosing to join Fulham despite the incoming manager wanting to assess every player at Old Trafford first.
‘In my head I was thinking, “I need to go, I need to feel confident and play” and that’s what I did,’ Pereira said.
‘I wanted to feel more loved and I wanted to play every game. What Fulham offered me and what Marco offered me, it was the perfect opportunity.’
The 27-year-old had worked with Ten Hag previously while they were at PSV, but despite the snub the Dutchman insists he has no qualms towards the Brazil international.
‘Andreas Pereira is a really good player,’ Ten Hag said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
‘I [have] known him already a long time, I had him in the youth team at PSV, before he transferred to Manchester United.
‘I am really happy for him and that he is progressing that well. I think it was the right step for him as I think he has to play on a regular basis.
‘He didn’t do it over several years at Manchester United, [but] then there comes a point where you have to switch.
‘Maybe to take a step back in order to progress in the future and I think he is doing a good job, that is quite obvious, as is Fulham. They are playing in a good way.’
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