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Erik ten Hag has lauded Fred for his Man of the Match display against Barcelona on Thursday, with the midfielder playing like a ‘mosquito’ in the 2-1 win.
Having assisted Marcus Rashford in the first leg at Camp Nou last week, the Brazilian turned goalscorer at Old Trafford, scoring his team’s opening goal. He also played a key role in the build-up to Antony’s goal, with the Red Devils running out eventual 4-3 winners on aggregate.
Ten Hag praises Fred the ‘mosquito’
Fred now has 191 Man Utd appearances to his name, having joined the club from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2018. He has not always been a fan favourite at Old Trafford, but the Brazilian has undoubtedly proved his worth in recent times.
Such worth was particularly on show in the two legs against the Spanish outfit, with Fred battling it out successfully in midfield against the likes of hugely talented players Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong and Pedri.
“He had an important role already last week in Barcelona, this week the same,” Ten Hag said after the match, as reported by the Man Utd website.
“He had first to stop Frenkie de Jong from playing, he had to play as a mosquito around him and go behind him and he did it magnificently. Last week, I think he gave a brilliant assist for Rashy in Barcelona, and today he scored the goal. A brilliant performance.”
Will Fred play further forward?
Fred was awarded the honour of Man of the Match by Man Utd supporters after netting his fifth goal of the season, his best tally in a single campaign in a Man Utd shirt.
The Brazilian has now netted in all four competitions the club has played in this season; the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup. He also has an assist in each of the four competitions.
Ten Hag has tasked Fred with various roles this season, primarily in central and defensive midfield. When asked if the Brazilian can play further up the pitch, Ten Hag replied: “I think so.
“What he can do really well is make runs behind in the right moment, he has the timing, to get behind the midfielders of Barcelona was part of our game-plan in Barcelona and now again, it was really effective to make the runs.”
Ten Hag preparing for crucial period
Man Utd remain in contention for all four competitions they are in, with Ten Hag’s men just five points behind leaders Arsenal in the Premier League. The club are also into the final of the League Cup, where they take on high-flyers Newcastle on Sunday.
And the Manchester outfit are now into the last 16 of the Europa League after overcoming La Liga side Barcelona, while they take on West Ham in the fifth round of the FA Cup early next month.
Two cup games are up next for the Red Devils in their next two games – against the Magpies and the Hammers – before returning to league action against fierce rivals Liverpool.
This is a @Fred08Oficial appreciation post. #MUFC || #UEL pic.twitter.com/Yz8kaOblRR
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 23, 2023