Fred proving critics wrong claims boss
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