‘He’s really taken on the challenge’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Fred after Manchester United midfielder’s improvement
Fred the red has won praise for transforming his Manchester United career since being taken off at half-time during last season’s 4-0 drubbing at Everton.
It’s a different Fred who returns to the Goodison Park bearpit on Sunday having been one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s best players this season and scoring twice in Thursday’s Europa League win against Bruges.
The United boss says the £52million Brazilian deserves huge credit for adapting to the demands of English football after his tough start.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Fred after the Manchester United midfielder’s improvement
‘He’s got used to it,’ expressed Solskjaer. ‘You have to play more one and two touch in the Premier League. You don’t have time for three or four touches or to get your studs on the ball, all those little habits Brazilian players have from a slower type of game.
‘Fred has really taken on the challenge. He had a first tough season but he’s known we believe in him. He is a top human being.
‘He struggled with the language last season but it’s easier for him to communicate with (coach) Martyn Pert coming in with fluent Portuguese.’
United are unbeaten in seven matches – conceding just once in that time.
Besides the defensive cover Fred gives his team-mates from midfield, there have been other notable individual improvements including left-back Luke Shaw who has responded well to the challenge set down by his younger rival Brandon Williams.
Solskjaer believes that Luke Shaw will rise to the competition provided by Brandon Williams
‘I would think he (Shaw) would respond to the competition because you either accept that kid is taking my place or you take up the challenge and improve your own game.
‘Luke is very focussed and concentrated. He’s fitter, he is consistently fit now, he’s fitter, and become a dad. He’s matured a lot and it’s great to see.
‘Luke has had his difficulties and the injury (a broken leg in 2015) was a bad one. Mentally that was difficult but he’s someone you want to see do well. Luke really cares for the kid (Williams) and tries to help him, but he wants to play himself.’
Both could feature if Solskjaer opts for a back-five on Sunday afternoon. Eric Bailly could also continue. United have kept clean sheets in both his appearances this season and he hasn’t been on the losing side for club or country for more than a year.
United will assess Anthony Martial who missed the midweek game after feeling a twinge around his thigh during training on Wednesday.