Andreas Pereira, currently on loan at Valencia from Manchester United, has reflected on when he first joined the club when he was just 15-years-old.

Suddenly we met Ferguson. He said ‘hi’ in Portuguese and that was very special to me. I didn’t expect that. I thought: ‘How does he know that?’ It was only a little detail but it made me want to go to United straight away. I wanted to sign immediately and stay there. So, I did stay. And from then I never wanted to go anywhere else.

Now 22, Valencia went against the wishes of Jose Mourinho and left for La Liga on loan, despite the manager telling him to stay. However, Pereira reckons he is reaping the benefits of playing under the strict Marcelino and has his eye on returning to United next season as an even better player.

That’s why it is difficult. He told me I had to stay but I wanted to play and get more minutes. He wanted me to stay there and it was important [to him], but I needed to do this. This was important for me and my career. And I’m sure if it works out, next year I will be back there and it will be better for both of us. In the end I think he is happy because he is a very honest coach. I was talking to him right up to the very last minute when I came here.

I had that chance because Valencia wanted me; it’s a big club and we can do well, as we’re showing. For sure, [Mourinho] is happy because Marcelino is a very, very good coach as well and we are doing great.

We don’t eat a lot. It’s a bit stressful but you see the positive results on the pitch: we run so much and we never get tired. It’s good. I feel leaner, fitter here this year.

I can play high-level football and have a good year, all year, and then I am ready to be a starter for United. Instead of being on the bench, playing some cup games, where in the end I know my head will get frustrated and then everything will go around and go against me. So that’s why I took this decision. I’m sure Mourinho is happy because he knows at the end of the season I will go back to United.