Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick was full of praise for Fred following a superb midfield performance against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Brazil international has had a mixed campaign with the Red Devils, but his displays have vastly improved under Rangnick, who has offered him the freedom to make forward runs.
It was a similar case yesterday at Old Trafford. With Nemanja Matic occupying the defensive midfield role, Fred had the license to push forward. This brought the best out of him.
The 29-year-old was solid defensively, winning five ground duels. He also registered four take-ons, four long balls, two clearances while providing three key passes on the counter-attack.
Cristiano Ronaldo was undoubtedly the man of the match for a spectacular hat-trick. However, Fred also had one of his best games in the club’s shirt.
He produced a lovely flick that paved the way for Ronaldo to open the scoring with a stunning strike from outside the box in the 12th minute.
Following the game, Rangnick told Manutd.com: “He is probably, together with Scott McTominay, the best ball-winner. The best player when the other team is in possession.
“He also showed today in quite a few counter-attacks and transitional moments, that he is also able to play, the number of balls he gave and an assist. It was also one of his best games since I was here.”
The £120,000-per-week star was at his creative best between December and January with key goal contributions against Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Brentford.
However, he could not produce the same level of performances after the winter break last month. A brief absence due to coronavirus may have contributed to the lack of rhythm.
Fred redeemed himself yesterday with a superb work-rate over 90 minutes against Spurs. He has the chance to repeat the showing against Atletico Madrid in midweek.
The Champions League last 16 tie is wide open after the 1-1 first-leg draw in Madrid. United will be favourites on Tuesday but will need to be more resolute defensively.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s win ensured United’s return to the fourth spot in the Premier League table. However, Arsenal are only two points behind with four games in hand.
Stats from Sofascore.com and Spotrac.com.
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