In Summary
  • Fred was left on the bench this week as United drew at Southampton and was dropped from the squad altogether on Wednesday
  • Mourinho has made clear that Fred's time will come, but does not believe the midfielder is yet ready to play regularly in the Premier League
  • United, in eighth place in the Premier League, have already conceded 25 goals this season

MANCHESTER

Jose Mourinho suggested Friday that Manchester United must get stronger defensively before he is ready to give Fred more games.

United spent Sh6.7 billion ($66 million) on buying the Brazil midfielder from Shakhtar Donetsk in June but he has made just six Premier League starts.

Fred was left on the bench this week as United drew at Southampton and was dropped from the squad altogether on Wednesday as Mourinho's side twice fought back from behind to secure a point against Arsenal.

The midfielder, who has not featured in any of United's past four league matches, has lost his place in the Brazil squad after struggling to make an impression at Old Trafford.

Mourinho used Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba in a three-man midfield for the 2-2 draw at Southampton, with no place in the team for the fourth-most expensive signing in United's history.

The manager then elected to use Herrera and Nemanja Matic in front of a five-man defence against Arsenal, with Pogba and Fellaini relegated to the bench.

Mourinho has made clear that Fred's time will come, but does not believe the midfielder is yet ready to play regularly in the Premier League.

"Step by step, you have also other players in other clubs that needed their time and you have some of them that played even less than what Fred is playing," said Mourinho.

"I think that when the team is defensively stronger and doesn't need in midfield people who are more worried about giving balance in the team than creativity, and the day we are stronger defensively, then the horizons change for Fred."

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