Erik ten Hag explains why Fred started alongside Casemiro in the Manchester United midfield against Omonia Nicosia
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has explained why he started Fred alongside Casemiro in the game against Omonia Nicosia. The Dutch manager wanted more legs in the middle of the park to press the Cypriot outfit.
Brazil legend and 2002 World Cup winner Gilberto Silva had recently urged to see more of the Brazilian duo in the engine room for the Red Devils. He said before the game against Omonia:
“I really want to see him [Casemiro] as he has done in the national team with Fred. I hope the combination will be great. If both of them play like they do in the national team with Manchester United, [they’ll do well].”
And fans got to see the two midfielders start in the 1-0 win over Neil Lennon’s team in the Europa League on 13 October.
Speaking after the game to MUTV via Manchester Evening News, Ten Hag revealed Fred and Casemiro’s connection was one of the reasons for their start. He also wanted to add energy to the engine room with the inclusion of the former Shakhtar Donetsk star.
“Yeah, definitely [Casemiro and Fred connection] and that’s one of the reasons, but also you see Fred doing so well in training, he always brings the quality. What we need today is counter-press and he’s really good at that, he’s frenetic.”
Since the former Real Madrid midfielder has arrived at the club, he has not had many opportunities to start for United. Casemiro got his first start in the Premier League for the Red Devils against Everton in the 2-1 victory.
Apart from that, the 30-year-old has been kept out of the starting lineup by Scott McTominay. The Scotland international has put in impressive displays to keep his place in the team. The 25-year-old scored the winner against Omonia, replacing Casemiro in the 81st minute.
On the other hand, Fred had not had a lot of opportunities in the gaffers XI since the 4-0 loss to Brentford. The 29-year-old has mostly come as a substitute in most games.
With the two Brazilians in the middle of the park for United, the Cypriot outfit were dominated. The Red Devils created most of the chances and kept Neil Lennon’s team at bay.
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We looked solid with Casemiro and Fred starting together for the first time. This bodes well for the competition within the team.