- Red Devils faced La Liga giants in Europa League
- Won to go through to the last-16
- Brazilian star playing a crucial role
WHAT HAPPENED? The Brazil international’s game is all about buzzing around opponents and making life difficult for them. He did that perfectly during two heavyweight encounters with Barca, with his ability to stifle rivals and break up play ensuring that Dutch playmaker Frenkie de Jong contributed little on the creativity front over the course of 180 minutes of thrilling continental competition.
WHAT THEY SAID: Fred also grabbed a vital goal in United’s 2-1 victory over Barca at Old Trafford, which helped to see them through 4-3 on aggregate, with Ten Hag telling reporters afterwards: “He had an important role already last week in Barcelona, this week the same. He had first to stop Frenkie de Jong from playing, he had to play as a mosquito around him and go behind him and he did it magnificently. Last week, I think he gave a brilliant assist for Rashy [Marcus Rashford] in Barcelona, and today he scored the goal. A brilliant performance.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Fred brought much-needed energy to United’s engine room against Barcelona, with his ability to help drive the Red Devils up the field often going unnoticed. Ten Hag added on how the South American star helps him to implement an attacking tactical system: “I like the speed. I like dynamic football. I don’t like static football, I don’t like boring football. I like football that entertains the people.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty
DID YOU KNOW? Having lost two of their first four home games in all competitions this season (W2), Manchester United have since gone unbeaten in 18 matches at Old Trafford, winning 16 of them (D2).
WHAT NEXT? United, who remain in the hunt for four trophies this season, are now into the last-16 of the 2022-23 Europa League and will discover their opponents at that stage of the competition when the draw for the next round is made on Friday.