Why Ralf Rangnick prefers to play Fred in Manchester United’s midfield

Why Ralf Rangnick prefers to play Fred in Manchester United's midfield

Fred has pressed the opposition more than any other Manchester United player this season.

The Brazilian has certainly been a divisive figure at United since arriving at the club in 2018 from Shakhtar Donetsk, with his partnership with Scott McTominay in the double pivot receiving heavy scrutiny during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign. Fred was an almost certain starter each week under Solskjaer, however, following Ralf Rangnick’s interim appointment, the player has remained a regular starter.

The 29-year-old has started in 27 matches across all competitions this season and he’s become a key player in Rangnick’s plans. Fred has been allowed to roam further up the pitch under the German and he’s now recording improved goal contributions.

It also seems opinion on Fred is gradually shifting among United supporters after some recent energetic performances. His work rate is an endearing trait but there’s crucially substance behind his running. Rangnick has placed a greater emphasis on pressing since his arrival in Manchester and no player at the club has pressed the opposition more than Fred this term.

Fred has recorded 486 total pressures this season and Bruno Fernandes is just behind him with a total of 467. Scott McTominay (380), Jadon Sancho (234) and Paul Pogba (233) all trail behind the leading pair quite significantly.

The midfielder was asked about United’s predicament last month and he earned praise for his honest comments. “I know in football it’s important to get good results as soon as possible, but it’s also important to have a long-term plan,” Fred said.

“I think it’s a little bit bad for us not to have one, at the moment it’s all about the short-term goals. We don’t know how it’s going to be after the end of this season.”


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