Andreas Pereira hopes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stays for many seasons to come given the way he has helped the midfielder and Manchester United evolve during his first year in charge.
Thursday is a year to the day since the 1999 treble hero returned to the club as caretaker manager following the departure of divisive Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer’s side remain a work in progress but the United boss celebrated his first anniversary by leading them past Colchester into the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored either side of a Ryan Jackson own goal in a 3-0 win at Old Trafford on Wednesday, when the side displayed a mentality that midfielder Pereira believes the manager has helped shape.
“I think we have evolved a lot,” the Brazil international said.
“Mentally we are more patient, we work for each other more and more and we have more confidence on the pitch.
“I think that’s all the United way we play, like the counter-attack we are playing very good. We’re very direct and I think he has a massive part in that.
“Hopefully we can keep that going and he can stay for many more years.”
Consistent performances, defensive solidity and an ability to break down sides are all areas United need to work on, but they are capable of big wins.
December’s 2-1 victory at Manchester City was among the most impressive successes and will have to be repeated if they are to reach Wembley, having been drawn against Pep Guardiola’s men in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
“We are desperate to win a trophy,” Pereira said. “Everybody at the academy is raised to win trophies.
“We have been winning trophies since the academy until the reserves and we want to do it now with the first team.
“It’s a good game. We are up for it. We know it is difficult. Derbies are always special.”
Pereira came off the bench at the Etihad Stadium and looked bright from the start against Colchester, when he made his 22nd appearance of the season – just one shy of last year’s total.
He is tied to the club until at least 2023 after signing improved terms in the summer and believes Solskjaer is taking his game on.
“He helped me a lot,” he said. “The manager, the staff, everybody.
“I think as a player I have grown, especially mentally, I am very strong from last season.
“Of course I have been playing a lot more this season and I feel that every game my confidence is higher and higher, and I can show the ability that I’ve got to everyone.”
Pereira is quick to point out the helping hand of former team-mate turned first-team coach Michael Carrick.
“He’s massive, he helps me every day in training,” he said.
“He coaches me how to receive the ball and how to break teams down and he plays a massive role in the same position I am playing today. He has helped me a lot, not me only a lot of the players as well.
“I study clips of him, I study clips of Scholesy [Paul Scholes] – all the United players who played in the middle, but especially (Carrick) because he was an expert in turning around and breaking teams down, especially when they are camped in front of their own area.
“At home I am always watching football, so I watch video clips of him. If I play as a 10, who plays there, as Wazza (Wayne Rooney) played there. I try to study everyone a bit.
“At the club of course they help me and they show me videos of myself and videos of how I have to do it, so they help a lot.”
Pereira’s game does seem to have changed a little this season and the midfielder laughed when the PA news agency mentioned added nastiness.
“It is about experience,” he said with a smile. “I played 70 games in LaLiga and I think it’s the experience that goes with that.
“You know when to be a little bit more dirty and when to kick people and when you cannot do it.
“It’s the feel of the game. You feel it better and better.
“Sometimes when you have to kick, it’s better I kick him than he kicks me!”
Meanwhile, Colchester manager John McGreal is focused on pushing for promotion from League Two after a memorable Carabao Cup run.
“To take them to 0-0 at half-time is another shot in the arm for us and now we’ve got to build on that,” he said.
“We’ve only now got the league to play for and now that’ll come thick and fast over the festive period.”