Fred prov­ing crit­ics wrong claims boss

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT -

OLE Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer hailed Fred after his ‘ex­cel­lent’ per­for­mance in United’s 2-0 win at Burn­ley.

In the ab­sence of in­jured mid­field pair Paul Pogba and Scott McTom­i­nay, Fred was part­nered by Ne­manja Matic on his first Premier League start since Septem­ber 22.

The pair were dis­ci­plined through­out as the Reds recorded their first league clean sheet in 15.

Fred has started the last 13 United league fix­tures as many as he man­aged in the en­tirety of last sea­son and the £52m mid­fielder drew more praise from his man­ager.

“He’s been out for a long while and he didn’t feel right,” Sol­sk­jaer said of Pogba. “We’ll just have to take our time and get him ready for next time.

“When you’ve been out for such a while it’s al­ways go­ing to take time un­til you’re 100 per cent.

“He wasn’t ready to­day, be­cause he’s not re­ally done too many games and he’s had two in a few days and he just needed an­other day’s re­cov­ery.

“I felt Fred and Ne­manja played re­ally well and we’ve got real play­ers out there.

“I don’t think many of you would have thought three or four months ago Fred would have been one of the best play­ers at Burn­ley at Turf Moor, but he was ex­cel­lent.”

United’s third league clean sheet of the cam­paign was also their first away from home in the com­pe­ti­tion since the 3-0 stroll at Ful­ham on Fe­bru­ary 9.

Sol­sk­jaer rested full­backs Aaron Wan-Bis­saka and Luke Shaw, who were re­placed by Ash­ley Young and Bran­don Wil­liams, but cen­tre-halves Harry Maguire and Vic­tor Lin­de­lof played 90 min­utes for the sec­ond time in three days.

“If you have a clean sheet you al­ways have a chance to win a game,” Sol­sk­jaer added.

“And it’s been a while for the back four, and David (de Gea) es­pe­cially, he’s only had one save to make.

“It’s also a tes­ta­ment to the per­for­mance we put in.”

Arse­nal host United on New Year’s Day at the scene of Sol­sk­jaer’s first do­mes­tic de­feat as the club’s man­ager in March.

The Reds recorded suc­ces­sive league vic­to­ries for only the sec­ond time this term at Turf Moor and Sol­sk­jaer feels they are near­ing a more con­sis­tent per­for­mance level.

“We’re get­ting bet­ter, we’re im­prov­ing,” he said.

“It’s just we’ve had too many draws early on and that puts us in the po­si­tion we’re in.

“We’ve only lost once each month.

“If you go a month be­tween ev­ery time you lose it’s not bad for a team that’s learn­ing and de­vel­op­ing, so hope­fully we can go two months be­tween de­feats soon.

“But we’re learn­ing and this was a big step for­ward.”

Fred cel­e­brates United’s vic­tory

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