Before a ball was kicked when Manchester United took on Aston Villa, it was clear Fred was in for a long afternoon.
The Brazilian was playing well before Scott McTominay got injured and he has found it tough without him.
Against Villa, Fred was asked to play as part of a midfield trio with Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata.
Neither player are currently of the quality United require. Pereira has been exposed as not up to standard, and Mata is long past his best.
This was evident against in the 2-2 draw, and Fred did indeed have a difficult game against a strong Villa midfield.
To his credit, he stuck to his task well, and it is harsh to criticise him unduly for United’s failure to win the game.
Don’t lump him in
Pereira’s poor performance was a big source of frustration, despite the way he set up a goal. Mata was totally anonymous.
But Fred should not be lumped in with those two as a useless trio. He worked hard and made a strong all round contribution.
Fred created three chances, more than any United player, and had three shots, the second highest. He was trying to make something happen.
Defensively he led the team with two tackles and three interceptions. He also made two clearances. All this while completing 93 per cent of his passes.
At times it felt like he was playing midfield against Villa by himself.
Put better players in alongside him and he can be a part of a winning United team. Scott McTominay can’t come back quickly enough.
Here is a look at some positive reaction to Fred’s performance…
- If Bruno Fernandes signs for United, Ed Woodward deserves no credit
- Marcus Rashford makes hopeful vow about eventual return
- Injury handling is black mark against Solskjaer’s status as United boss
- Burnley will test Manchester United’s set-piece weakness
- Dean Henderson stakes claim for Euros spot with another penalty save