Fred was a surprise starter as Manchester United took on Sevilla in the Europa League final on Sunday night.

It had been assumed that Nemanja Matic would return to the starting line-up after being a substitute for the previous two Europa League matches.

While the combination of Fred and Paul Pogba is so far unproven as a partnership, and ended this game with a defeat, the efforts of the pair could not be faulted.

Fred, Pogba and Bruno Fernandes were United’s three best players and the Brazilian was particularly effective.

Sevilla v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final
(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Back to his best

It has been shown since lockdown that Fred finds it tough to come in and out of the side and display his best form. That was clear in his debut season too.

His best games for United came when he had a run of games in the team, and this in his third consecutive start showed that he was a player who benefitted from the rhythm of regular starts.

Fred was a tour-de-force at times, refusing to let Sevilla break when United lost possession as he battled to win back possession.

He joined the attack early and got into an goalscoring position, before hitting the side netting.

 

Most notably, Fred made seven tackles in the game, up from his season average of 2.1 (WhoScored.com).

This was a sign of his determination and freshness as he helped United take control of the game early.

Had it not been for poor finishing, we would be celebrating Fred’s role in memorable semi-final win, rather than it becoming merely a footnote in United’s final game of a long 2019/20 season.

In possession Fred completed 89 per cent of his passes, and made two successful dribbles.

This was his best game since the lockdown, and it was a shame that it ended in defeat.

Sevilla v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Semi Final
(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Fan reaction

We can only wonder what might have been if Nemanja Matic started the game instead and if it would have created a different result.

But that would be unfair on Fred who performed well and staked a claim for a regular spot alongside Pogba in midfield next season.

Here is a look at some of the reaction on social media to his performance…

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