Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offered no sympathy to Fred after his red card against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.
The midfielder received his marching orders for a second bookable offence in United’s 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford.
But the Brazilian could have been sent off in the first half; he in fact only received a yellow after the referee consulted the VAR screen following his headbutt on Leandro Paredes.
Speaking after the match, though, Solskjaer insisted that Fred should not have reacted in that way to start with.
“Fred shouldn’t put his head towards him,” the manager told BT Sport. “I don’t think he touches him but, still, you don’t do that. So it’s either nothing or a red card.
“I thought he was lucky to stay on when the referee decided to give him anything.”
Solskjaer also confirmed that he had thought about taking Fred off at half time but opted to keep him on the pitch.
Fred then received a second yellow for a challenge on ex-United midfielder Ander Herrera. United’s midfielder appeared to win the ball against the Spaniard but also caught his man.
Speaking about his reasons for keeping Fred on the pitch, Solskjaer insisted that Herrera knew the challenge should not have seen Fred leave the field.
Asked about whether he thought about withdrawing Fred at the break, the Norwegian said: “Yeah, but Fred has played really well and we spoke about staying calm and staying on your feet and the second yellow card is nowhere near a foul.
“So Ander knows that as well. He definitely knows.”
Solskjaer rues lack of finishing touch
In the end, United lost out as Neymar’s brace and Marquinhos’ poked finish saw them win at Old Trafford.
But the Red Devils had big chances of their own, with Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani spurning opportunities.
Solskjaer said: “Yeah, we had some big chances, some big moments and that’s the difference when you get to the big games.
“You can talk about all the possession in the middle and which team dominates, but games are always decided either end of the goal.”
United return to action on Saturday when they play West Ham in a Premier League fixture.