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'You get confidence from playing games' - Fred's 'excellent' display against Brighton delights Man Utd boss Solskjaer

1:18 am AEDT 12/11/19
Fred Manchester United 2019-20
The Norwegian felt the Brazilian midfielder played a key role in helping the Red Devils secure a vital win over the Seagulls at the weekend

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels Fred is increasing in confidence after an 'excellent' display in Manchester United's 3-1 victory against Brighton at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Red Devils put the disappointment of last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth behind them to see off Graham Potter's side in comfortable fashion ahead of the international break.

Andreas Pereira's deflected effort gave the hosts the lead after just 17 minutes before Fred's free kick two minutes later was bundled into his own net by Davy Propper.

United squandered a number of chances to extend their advantage before Brighton reduced the deficit when Lewis Dunk headed a Pascal Gross corner past David de Gea just after the hour mark.

Solskjaer's side responded brilliantly to that setback moments later, however, as Marcus Rashford fired into the top corner of the net after being teed up by Anthony Martial in the box.

The result ensured United moved back up to seventh in the Premier League table, with five wins from their last six games across all competitions helping to lift the gloom surrounding Old Trafford at the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

After the match Solskjaer singled out Fred - a £52 million ($67m) signing who has failed to live up to expectations since arriving in Manchester in the summer of 2018 - with it his belief that the Brazil international has built up extra confidence in recent weeks.

“You get confidence from playing games,” Solskjaer told a press conference. “He has not really had a run of games and I think he set us up with his midfield play.

“He won the ball. We had to get after them because, with Propper and [Dale] Stephens in midfield, we couldn’t let them get on the ball and I thought Fred was maybe the catalyst.

“Maybe there were a couple of fouls he shouldn’t have made in the first half to give them chances because that was one of the big opportunities they had, from set-plays.

“But, otherwise, he was excellent.”

United have amassed 16 points from 12 fixtures and sit 10 points behind fourth-place Manchester City in the race for the final Champions League spot, with leaders Liverpool already out of sight on 34.

Solskjaer's improving outfit will look to close that gap even further when they return to Premier League action after the international break.

The Red Devils will travel to Bramall Lane to face high-flying Sheffield United on November 24, before taking in their penultimate Europa League group-stage fixture away at Astana four days later.