Fred returned to Manchester United’s starting line-up for the derby and showed what he was all about.
The Brazilian was one of United’s better players in the drab 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, which looks a bit of a better result or a bigger missed opportunity after rivals dropped points, depending on your perspective.
He made sure City’s players had little time on the ball in midfield, helping to limit Kevin de Bruyne’s impact on the game.
Fred managed 63 touches, completing 92 per cent of his passes, while winning three tackles.
His energy was so important in the centre of the pitch, and highlighted what was missing against RB Leipzig in United’s midweek 3-2 defeat.
PSG red card so costly
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took a risk not taking Fred off at half-time against PSG when he was on a yellow card. It backfired.
The midfielder was sent off just after United had gone a goal down and the chances of getting back into the game dramatically reduced, with United eventually losing 3-1.
The biggest punishment though was the suspension, as it led to a poor result and more questionable decisions in Germany.
The biggest setback was the midfield of Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay which started in Germany. Matic in particular was ineffective.
There is no guarantee Fred starting against Leipzig would have led to United getting the point required, but United would have stood a better chance.
United were too passive, especially early on, and Fred would not have allowed Leipzig to get such a foothold in the game.
The £47 million midfielder has become so crucial to Manchester United’s approach under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
His performance against City was a bittersweet one. It only served as a reminder of what might have been, had Solskjaer not taken a risk by keeping him on against PSG.
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