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UEL 2019-20: Time for Fred to step up his game at Man United

03:43 SAST 2019/11/06
Fred Manchester United 2019-20
The Brazilian has done very little to convince his status as a starter in midfield...

Among other problems all over the pitch, the lack of a competent holding midfielder could prove to be a massive thorn in Manchester United’s season.

The Red Devils have gotten off to a poor start, garnering just 13 points over 11 games in the Premier League. They managed two wins and a draw in the UEFA Europa League but the lack of stability in midfield is concerning.

Despite topping Group L and collecting seven points in three games, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has scored just one goal from open play in the competition. The finger should not only point towards the toothless attack but also the pallid midfield.

Paul Pogba has either been sidelined due to injury or endured a poor form in the centre of the pitch. In his absence, Fred has not done much to stake his claim for a permanent spot either. Scott McTominay is the only midfielder and one of the few players in the squad who has impressed under the Norwegian boss.

Fred enjoyed a good outing against FC Astana, when he provided Mason Greenwood with the assist and ensured his side walked away with all three points. But he has been poor ever since.

Pogba’s role on the field is extremely vital. He needs to bring the players into the game, circulate possession and be prepared to play dirty when needed. Fred has been unable to perform any of these after replacing the Frenchman in the line-up.

He has been sloppy in possession, poor in aerial duels and prone to losing concentration in key moments. The £52 million price-tag has further put him under pressure amid the tough times.

United’s qualification to the knock-outs of the competition is all but confirmed. But they can’t afford to switch off in the second half of the Group Stage. Solskjaer will look to use the remaining games to strengthen his midfield, with Fred at the heart of it.

Replacing a world-class midfielder, despite his poor form, is no easy task. But Fred must do much better to justify his manager’s faith in him.

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