Why Fred must improve in order to become a regular starter for Man United
The acquisition of Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk at first appeared to be a sign of a busy and successful summer transfer window at Manchester United but it ended up being a disappointment for Jose Mourinho as his club managed to add only two players after that.
The Red Devils went on to buy Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant, but Fred was undoubtedly their most attractive and biggest purchase of the summer.
Fred, 25, completed a £52m move to Manchester United from Shakhtar Donetsk shortly after the World Cup had started. It looked like the Brazilian was signed by Mourinho to get the best out of Paul Pogba, whose performances have swung like a pendulum week in week out. So, getting the best out of Pogba has been a challenge for Mourinho for two seasons now.
With Nemanja Matic established as one of the indispensable figures at the club and Pogba as the team’s creative hub, Mourinho needed a midfielder with a touch of feistiness and dynamism to complete the midfield jigsaw.
And that’s when Fred came into the picture and going by the Brazilian’s performances so far, it is fair to suggest he will take some time to adapt to the Premier League.
Fred boasts fine technique, a sudden burst of pace, good vision and top tackling traits. In short, he is just the sort of midfielder Mourinho needed after Michael Carrick hung up his boots at the end of the season, although the Brazil international’s style of play is very much different from the Englishman.
In reality, there have been glimpses of Fred’s real quality. The 25-year-old enjoyed a solid debut in the 2-1 victory over Leicester City in the season opener but he put in a brilliant display in the 3-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.
Fred impressed the Old Trafford faithful in the game against Spurs with his dynamism, energy, work-rate and most importantly, the hunger to compete.
But prior to the game, United’s dull 3-2 defeat at Brighton raised a lot of concerns and Fred’s performance on that day was nothing short of appalling.
Truth to be told, Mourinho’s entire team were abject and lacked the energy to pierce Brighton’s defence, but Fred failed to do himself any favours, constantly losing possession. He was lucky to stay on the pitch after a ridiculous attempt to tackle Glenn Murray.
Before the international break when United played Burnley, Fred was dropped to the bench, with Mourinho preferring Marouane Fellaini instead. Mourinho’s plan worked wonders as United won the game 2-0 at Turf Moor.
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It is certainly going to take time for Fred to develop an understanding with his teammates but his potential is crystal clear.
However, he has to improve considerably and adapt quickly to the Premier League challenges if he wishes to become a regular starter under Mourinho this season.