Bruno Fernandes revealed what the Manchester United squad truly thinks of a maligned star now hitting the headlines for the right reasons.
Ralf Rangnick’s first match in charge appeared on course to end in frustration. Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace proved stubborn opponents, and with 76 minutes elapsed, the scores remained deadlocked.
If Manchester United were to find a winner, the smart money would have been on Cristiano Ronaldo.
But it was the unlikely figure of Fred who stepped up to the plate. The midfielder remarkably swept the ball into the top corner with his weaker right foot in sublime style.
It was a heart-warming moment for the Brazilian who has frequently been castigated since his £47m move to Old Trafford in 2018.
Indeed, the Fred-Scott McTominay central midfield axis has often courted stinging criticism. Many felt Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s insistence on keeping faith with the pair contributed to his downfall.
However, if the words of Bruno Fernandes are anything to go by, Fred’s winning goal was vindication for the United squad.
The Portuguese playmaker shared a joke about Fred’s shooting prowess before claiming he “deserves” the plaudits he is now receiving.
“Overall it was a good performance from everyone,” Fernandes said post-match (via the Manchester Evening News).
“We created a lot of chances and the result could be a little bit better for us. But we are happy because we got the three points.”
Fernandes then joked: “Fred has this kind of shot once per year
“Everyone is happy for him because he’s such a nice guy and he’s one that works a lot and he’s someone who most of the people don’t talk about. He deserves all the credit that he’s getting now.”
Rangnick offers Fred, McTominay improvement tip
Meanwhile, Fred and McTominay have been informed of one area of their games that needs to immediately improve under Rangnick.
Despite the pair earning plaudits for their displays against Crystal Palace, Rangnick insisted they must reduce their number of square balls in midfield.
“If you play the way that we played today, with regard to intensity, being on the front foot, playing very proactively, and having four offensive players ahead of Scotty and Fred – with Jadon, Bruno, Cristiano and Marcus – it’s highly important that you have players who are very disciplined, who are proactively aggressive against the ball,” Rangnick explained.
“And both Scotty and Fred are almost perfect defensively on that. They did one or two or three mistakes. Especially in the first half there were two square passes – one from Scott, one from Fred.
“I don’t like those kinds of balls in midfield in those positions. But overall, when the other team is in possession of the ball, both Fred and Scotty they are almost perfect for that kind of football.”