Fred issues instructions during Manchester United's trip to Norwich City

Fred seeks early qualification in Europe

Wednesday 06 November 2019 07:00

Manchester United midfielder Fred says the players are keen to secure qualification to the Europa League knockout rounds when we face Partizan Belgrade at Old Trafford on Thursday.

The Reds are top of Group L on seven points and will progress to the last 32 of the competition with a win over the Serbians.

After our 1-0 victory at the Partizan Stadium two weeks ago, a repeat in Manchester would mean Savo Milosevic’s side, currently third on four points, would be unable to catch us with two games remaining, due to our superior head-to-head record.

“It's important that we always go after the win,” insisted the South American. “It was a good game against Partizan.

“They're a quality team, they are very good, we felt, but we had a good game as well. We won 1-0 and played well.

Anthony Martial's penalty gave United the win in Serbia, in a game which Fred was rested for.

“It'll be no different here, it's going to be a tough game as well, but we'll go for the victory against a defensive team that play on the counter-attack, a fast team.

“We have to take all the necessary precautions, but also get on the pitch and have a great game and get the win.”

Should United get the job done this week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have the opportunity to rest players for our final two group games, against Astana on 28 November and AZ Alkmaar on 12 December.

With the Reds faced with the prospect of nine games across three competitions during the final month of 2019, Fred feels rotation will be vital.

“It will provide a bit of respite during the week, the team can rest,” the 26-year-old added.

The Brazilian has started six of United's last seven games in all competitions.

“It will also provide more opportunities for players to get a run of games, which is very important as we have a lot of games coming up and will need the entire squad, so to have already achieved qualification is important.

“With this run of games coming up, we'll be gradually putting the pieces together over these fixtures.”

Fred provided the assist for Mason Greenwood’s goal in our last home Europa League tie, against Astana in September, and his smile was irrepressible when he was asked how it feels to feature on the European stage at the Theatre of Dreams.

“Ah man, it's marvellous, isn't it? The fans there shouting and supporting us the entire time. Playing in Europe is great.

Fred says there's nothing quite like European nights under the lights at Old Trafford.

“As I've said, we need to recognise that it will be a tough game and go on the pitch to do our best. It's important we do our best with the fans behind us as it will put us at ease.

“This partnership between the fans and the team is important and I'm certain that it will be a special night and we'll have a great game.”

Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on Download the Official App here.