Michael Carrick’s first match as Manchester United caretaker manager saw Fred restored to the starting eleven.

He replaced Nemanja Matic in the side as United clinched a crucial 2-0 win over Villarreal.

Fred pressed Etienne Capoue into a mistake to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to open the scoring.

He was also involved early in the move which led to Jadon Sancho making it 2-0 with his first goal since joining United.

Villarreal CF v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

At his post-match press conference, Carrick paid tribute to Fred, saying: “Fred’s one of the best around at doing what he does.

“He played a massive part in the first goal, obviously Cristiano finishes it off but Fred was terrific.

“The defending and the intercepting for the second goal is what we’ve got in the team.

“To be able to intercept and his teams on the break like that, that’s always in the DNA of the club and that’s the players we’ve still got.”

Villarreal CF v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

A report by the Athletic claims that Carrick and fellow coach Kieran McKenna are huge fans of Fred.

The Brazilian has come in for his fair share of criticism, with his role in the team under constant scrutiny.

He played his part in a disciplined United performance in Spain, while also having a major hand in the goals.

His 50 passes had a 92 per cent success rate, as per WhoScored, as well as making two tackles and two interceptions.

With Chelsea on the horizon on Sunday, Carrick will need another huge performance from Fred in midfield.

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