The huddle at Villarreal.

Whose idea was the United huddle?

Wednesday 01 December 2021 07:00

Manchester United were under pressure going into last week's Champions League tie at Villarreal.

Defeat by more than one goal would have left qualification out of the Reds' hands and, after the heavy defeat at Watford and subsequent departure of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, all eyes were on the team at the Estadio de la Ceramica, as Michael Carrick took caretaker charge.

The tension increased when there was a delay to the kick-off as referee Felix Brych's technical equipment was not wired up correctly.

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As the wait continued, the players decided to congregate on the pitch and go into a huddle, emphasising togetherness and motivation for the task ahead, and reiterating a belief that the job could be done in Spain.

During an exclusive interview with Thursday's United Review, the official matchday programme, Fred was asked to enlighten us on the situation as it is not a common practice for United to do a pre-match huddle, even though a number of other clubs regularly engage in one ahead of the first whistle.


"It was not in the plan," admitted Fred. "But in the Brazil national team, always before the game, we come together.

"I talked to the guys and everyone came in together. Was it my idea? Yes! [Laughs]

"It’s difficult, because we have a big squad and lots of players, so it’s important we’re all together. Villarreal it was okay – we played well and we won – but now we need to change our minds. We know the Premier League is difficult, so we need to play well and win the next games."

United won 2-0 on the night, of course, to ultimately seal top spot in Group F when Young Boys and Atalanta drew later that evening. 

Fred was excellent, contributing to both goals, and was also impressive during the 1-1 draw at Chelsea last time out.

"It was good for me because the press is important in the game," he said of his role in winning possession in the build-up to the strikes by Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho in Spain. "It’s not my assist but I was really happy with my two steals of the ball which resulted in both of our goals during the game.

"It was really important, and I hope to continue putting this work in as it’s important for both me and the team."

Read the full interview with Fred in Thursday's United Review, the official matchday programme.