Fred identifies our biggest test in the Europa League
Manchester United midfielder Fred feels confident about our chances in the UEFA Europa League mini tournament in Germany, although the Brazilian admits we must be wary of knockout football.
The remainder of the competition will be fought out in neutral venues over 90 minutes, plus extra-time and penalties, if needed.
And the 27-year-old has reminded his team-mates of the perils involved in knock-out football, with little margin for error and concentration being the ‘biggest test’.
“I like playing all types of football, whether it’s a tournament or a points-based championship like the Premier League, but I think in tournaments you need to concentrate more,” the Brazilian told the midweek edition of United Review.
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“There are two important games, and a single match in the final. You have to make sure you’re highly prepared, you can’t make mistakes.
“In league football you still have the chance to recover, you make a mistake and lose the game you can still recover later in the competition.
“In tournaments if you lose a game by a certain margin of goals it’s difficult to come back. So you need to concentrate even more. I think that is what’s most important for us. That will be the biggest test.”
United’s next challenge comes against FC Copenhagen on Monday and, if the Reds can see off the Danish runners-up, a semi-final – also held in Cologne – would follow on Sunday week.
The RheinEnergieSTADION is also set to play host to the competition’s final on Friday 21 August which, if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side make it, would be our 15th game in 63 days since the restart on 19 June.
However, Fred believes the fast-paced, fixture-packed Premier League scheduled we've had to negotiate in recent weeks will help see us through to the end of what has been a long and tiring campaign.
“We’ve got used to these games coming one after an another during the intense fixture calendar in June and July.
“So we’re kind of used to it and I think it could be an advantage when playing games that are a few days apart, like they will be in Germany.
“I think it will be an advantage for us in the Europa League tournament format – I’m certain we’ll be ready.”
This interview originally appeared in the LASK edition of United Review.