'It could be the most exciting match so far'
Manchester United's Joel Pereira thinks that the fans in China could give us an added boost in Thursday's game against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Reds face our Premier League rivals at the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai and the Portuguese goalkeeper has spoken about how passionate the supporters in Asia have been so far.
“This is my first time in China and, while we've only been here for a day, it looks just amazing. The fans, we can feel their support everywhere we are. Even at the hotel, they come here and they support us,” the 23-year-old told ManUtd.com.
“It's just been fantastic everywhere we've been this tour, they've been amazing – in Perth, Singapore and now China. I can't wait for the game to see their support, as well. I'm looking forward to that.”
Shaping up in Shanghai Gallery
See how the Reds got on as we hit the training ground in China for the first time.
Pereira, who made his first-team debut against Wigan Athletic in January 2017, spent last season out on loan, first at Vitoria de Setubal before a spell in Belgium with Kortrijk.
After gaining invaluable experience in two of Europe’s strongest 10 leagues, according to the UEFA coefficient, the Portugal Under-21 international is now keen to make an impression at Old Trafford. The goalkeeper has played in two of the three matches on Tour 2019 so far, featuring as a half-time substitute in the wins over Perth Glory and Leeds United in Australia.
“It's just great to be back with the boys and with my goalkeeping union and now also with Richard [Hartis, United’s new goalkeeping coach],” he admitted.
“Training's been going very well, and we've been working hard every single day. Also, to play in the first two games was great for myself; from a personal point it was very good, and I'm happy with the performances as well. We just have to keep going and, for myself, I feel ready for anything that is coming up.”
Our next opposition are all-too-familiar. We traded away wins with Spurs in the league last season, but came out on top in our last meeting on neutral ground – a 2-1 Emirates FA Cup semi-final win at Wembley in April 2018 – and Pereira is hoping for another memorable occasion on Thursday.
“It's like a rival, because we play in the same league, we challenge for the same titles, so I think it might be the most exciting game so far,” insisted Pereira.
“The team is excited. We are all prepared. We are all working very hard and we will give our best for the game against Tottenham. It's always great for me to wear the Man United shirt, and you have to give your best every time you wear it.”
As with all the pre-season games, United v Tottenham in Shanghai on Thursday (12:30 BST) will be shown live on MUTV.