Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists out-of-favour Fred will get his chance at Manchester United, believing he has needed time to settle in England. Fred became United’s fifth-most expensive signing ever when he joined the club in the summer, but he has seen his game-time limited at Old Trafford, having started just seven Premier League games all season. Only one of those starts has come under Solskjaer – back in the Boxing Day win over Huddersfield – and the Brazil international has not played a single minute since United’s FA Cup win over Reading on January 5. Solskjaer, however, called for patience with Fred, and is adamant his opportunities will come. Fred is even in contention to start against Crystal Palace on Wednesday, with Solskjaer without 10 players for the trip to the capital. “[Fred needs to] play well when he gets the chance, keeping training, keep working as he does,” Solskjaer said. “We have had a midfield three of [Ander] Herrera, [Paul] Pogba and [Nemanja] Matic and they have played really well together. “It is not like we have been bogged down with too many games. Scott McTominay was the obvious choice against Liverpool because he was an academy kid – we had five academy kids at one point on the pitch. He knows what it means. “You have to look at the time it needs to settle. You look at Juan [Sebastian Veron] – he is one of the best players that I played with – and it took him time to settle. And I am sure that when given the chance and a run in the team Fred will grab the opportunity.
“Fred will get his chances, maybe tomorrow.” Solskjaer also explained how he has managed to oversee a vast improvement in United’s defensive record, with United having kept four clear sheets in their last five games, compared to just five this season under Jose Mourinho before he was sacked in mid-December. “We have spent a lot of time on the structure, how we defend,” Solskjaer added. “The first few games [of my tenure] did not give us too many challenges in that respect, but then we went to Arsenal and you could see how we were pulled all over the play in midfield. Our poor back four were like battering rams.
“The midfield shape has improved a lot – it has helped the back four to play as a back four and not been scattered all over the place. “My principle has never been for ‘you to follow him, and you to follow him’, in the teams I have played and the teams I have coached it has been a zonal system. I have not been a favourite of man-marking systems.” Photo Credit:Getty