A match-winning display in the Champions League when the chips were down for Manchester United gives belief that Fred can still win the critics over
Fred’s transfer to Manchester United has been causing a lot of controversy among fans, as the former Shakhtar Donetsk star has had a very slow start to life in England. But a trademark Champions League performance away against Paris Saint Germain, last week has the potential to become the difference-maker for the Brazilian.
Manchester United were in desperate need for a big win in the French capital, but were by no means the favorites to go past PSG. In fact, the likelihood of the Ligue Un side winning the second leg was higher than the opposite scenario. So you can only imagine how happy the English club’s fanbase must be feeling right now.
Fred’s game by numbers vs. PSG:
32/39 passes completed
7 ball recoveries
6/6 accurate long balls
3 tackles won
2 fouls won
Showed his UCL experience. ??? pic.twitter.com/IdMBtCLwRm
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 6, 2019
This historical comeback would not have been possible without real warriors in midfield, who thought for every single challenge, doing their best to nullify PSG’s attacks, consequently offering the Reds the opportunity to have a go at Gianluigi Buffon and his back-line, forcing them to commit costly mistakes.
Fred was one of United’s heroes of the night, having pulled-off his best ever performance for the PL side yet. The Brazilian was all over the pitch, recovering balls, neutralizing attacks, winning challenges, and helping Manchester launch counters. It is no coincidence that such display came in the Champions League, a competition Fred has so long played consistently well at.
While his adaptation to the English game may not have yet reached its optimal stage, the 26-year old has had many memorable individual displays in the European competitions, namely against the likes of Manchester City and AS Roma – which eventually earned him this move to England.
Fred needs to work on improving his reflexes and taking better decisions in quicker space of time, in addition to his need to work on his first touch and ball control. He can certainly work on his weaknesses, the way Fabinho did after a couple of months at Liverpool. This important display comes in a moment where he was in desperate need for confidence and a moral boost. This comeback has the potential to help him win over the fans again, and get new chances to prove himself in the Premier League,
It’s obvious that Fred possesses a decent technical quality on the ball, especially in terms of passing and dictating play. But he needs to be able to protect his ball in a better way when under pressure. In order to do that, he needs to improve physically and to learn to keep the ball closer to his feet after the first touch.
Does he have a long way to go before becoming the midfielder that United fans have been craving for? You’re damn right he has. But does he have the quality to fulfill his potential? In my opinion, yes, as long as he dedicates himself to the club.
Manchester United remain one of the biggest teams in Europe, and their fans have been used to some of the greatest players over the past few decades. Fred needs to continue working hard, so that he can bounce back and form a Brazilian duo with Andreas Pereira. The two compatriots are arguably enjoying their best times yet at United’s first team.