Ex-Hearts boss Daniel Stendel explains why he kept selecting Manchester United loanee Joel Pereira
Former Hearts manager Daniel Stendel has revealed his thinking behind the continued selection of out-of-form goalkeeper Joel Pereira last season.
The Portuguese stopper was looked as something of a signing coup when he was brought by previous boss Craig Levein in on loan from Manchester United, having been once singled out for praise by Jose Mourinho during his tenure at Old Trafford.
Though the 24-year-old initially looked a solid addition, his performances began to suffer with fans calling for him to be removed from the starting.
He sat on the bench for Stendel’s first match in charge, a 1-0 defeat to St Johnstone, but was soon brought back into the starting XI and played the next 11 games under the German before a 5-0 defeat at Celtic Park saw him dropped from the team for good.
Stendel saw a lot of attributes in the custodian, currently on loan at Huddersfield Town, but feels he struggled to handle the pressure with Hearts struggling at the wrong end of the table.
Stendel told The Terrace Scottish Football Podcast: "He has a lot of quality. He was comfortable with the ball at his feet, he could stand higher up on the pitch, which suited the way we wanted to play.
“He had the most potential from the goalkeepers we had. He was a little bit younger than the other guys, but he had the potential.
“He started well but very similar to the team: in some situations he had problems with the pressure. And he wasn’t alone in conceding those goals.
“But we thought that maybe we needed more experience and he was somebody for the future, when the situation was maybe a little different.”
Stendel, who left Hearts in the summer following the club’s relegation, was also asked why another goalkeeper wasn’t brought in during the January transfer window.
He answered: "We thought we had good goalkeepers and at the time it wasn’t top of our list. We had some injuries and we had problems with creating chances and scoring goals, so our focus was more on that part of the squad.”