Telles: Fred is our 'motorzinho'

Wednesday 08 December 2021 12:24

Manchester United left-back Alex Telles has praised his Brazilian compatriot Fred, after a series of influential contributions from the Belo Horizonte man in recent weeks.

The diminutive midfielder scored the only goal in Sunday’s Premier League win over Crystal Palace, and was absolutely vital in the 2-0 success in Villarreal that sealed Champions League qualification.

In England, players like Fred are often labelled ‘defensive midfielders’ – an unglamorous description that perhaps implies a limited usefulness.
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But in a lengthy interview with the club’s matchday programme, United Review, Telles revealed that, in Brazil, such players are given more respect – and a more exciting title!

“In Brazil, we call players like this motorzinhos,” said the 28-year old. “They are the team’s engine, playing deep and looking to recover the ball.

“I think he had a key role in the game against Villarreal – the two goals we scored came from Fred’s ball recoveries. We know how important he is for the team and I’m really happy for him.”
Telles also labelled his team-mate as “fundamental” to United’s structure and team balance.

“I’m biased, of course,” he admitted. “As Fred’s a great friend of mine off the pitch. But, on the pitch, I believe that Fred has a fundamental role within the team. 
“He’s a player with a quality that I like, he’s someone who runs for the team. He doesn’t just think about his own position, he thinks about the positioning of numerous other players, and he’s always running and covering various positions.”
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Interim manager Ralf Rangnick switched United’s system to a narrow 4-2-2-2 for his first game in charge, against Palace, which gave Fred and midfielder partner Scott McTominay more allies in the midfield battle.

Consequently, Fred was named Man of the Match by supporters, after an all-action display that saw him contribute a typically titanic amount of defensive work, but also plenty of attacking threat.

Telles himself has also been performing well since breaking into the side.
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There was a first United goal earlier in the season – a crucial equaliser in the 2-1 home win over Villarreal – and the defender has started four consecutive games in all competitions, in the absence of Luke Shaw.
“Consistency helps a lot, obviously, I’m happy with my performances,” explained Alex. “Of course, there should always also be improvement. I demand a lot of myself and believe I should be evolving with every training session, every game. 
“We know that, at Manchester United, we have great players, whoever gets the opportunity to play deserves to be there. I work very hard and wait for my opportunity. Of course, I’m delighted to play in matches and get a run of games. Whichever player comes into whatever position will do their best and help the club.”
You can read the full version of Telles’s interview in the Young Boys edition of United Review, which is available to order here.