Solskjaer: PSG was Fred's breakthrough for us
There were outstanding performances all over the pitch as Manchester United overturned a two-goal deficit against Paris Saint-Germain to reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday night.
But one Red which stood out in the heat of the important midfield battle was Fred, who arguably enjoyed his best game in a United shirt to date on a dramatic evening at the Parc des Princes.
The Brazilian, who made his 14th start of the season against PSG, has had to be patient for opportunities during his debut season at the club but stepped up when it mattered in the absence of the suspended Paul Pogba, injured Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic.
According to the statistics displayed in the new Match Centre in our Official App, Fred had a 69 per cent total influence on the game, with some effective passing in the engine room and vital defensive contributions.
On a night when the Reds were missing 10 first-team players in the French capital, our no.17 – who celebrated his 26th birthday the day before the PSG game – was also a calming influence alongside the equally impressive Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay.
In his post-match press conference, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave credit to some of the unsung heroes who were vital to the cause – including McTominay – but singled out Fred, who he feels might have turned a corner against PSG.
“Fred and McTominay did a fantastic job screening in front of their high midfielders, putting pressure on [Marco] Verratti and Marquinhos,” Ole told reporters in Paris.
“Fred – that was probably his breakthrough for us. You can see why we’ve signed him. He’s got the mentality of a Brazilian international, he is a Brazilian international.
“He gets on the ball, has no fear and no doubt whatsoever. He used to play in that system at Shakhtar [Donetsk] so it suited him and that’s why we signed him.”
Solskjaer has repeatedly promised that Fred will receive ample opportunity to show his true worth and the South American, who so often shone on the European stage with his former club Shakhtar, certainly took his chance against PSG.
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