Fred has more reason than most to impress when Manchester United return to action this weekend.

The Brazilian was poor in the FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Leicester. And he has no excuse not to be fresh and firing following the international break.

While many of his United teammates were away with their countries, Fred remained in England with the likes of Nemanja Matic, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani. And that last domestic performance should be weighing on his mind.

Fred gave the ball away time and again as United fell short last month. It was his mistake that led to the Red Devils going behind and he looked rusty throughout.

For much of this season, the midfielder has justified his £47million price-tag (BBC). He has 37 appearances in all competitions and has formed a formidable partnership with Scott McTominay.

But his most recent outing harked back to his early days at United, when he looked out of his depth.

Manchester United v West Ham United: The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Now Fred has the ideal chance to prove his remaining doubters wrong.

United are back in Premier League action on Sunday before they continue their Europa League campaign.

 

Every match between now and the end of the season is vital. United want to finish the year with a trophy and (at least) a second-placed finish.

Many of United’s players will be tired after their international exploits. In contrast, Fred has been training closer to home and should start this weekend.

He cannot afford another poor performance; not with the summer transfer window fast approaching and the prospect of United bringing in another holding midfielder.

Time to make amends

Fred often does the quiet work. He gets stuck in so those ahead of him can shine.

Giving the ball away is the cardinal sin for a holding midfielder; especially close to your own box.

Fred did that far too much the last time United played. He will have no doubt been working on that in training and now he must perform when it matters.

Every player can be forgiven an off-day. But the rarer, the better.

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