Manchester United put in a commanding display in the second-half as they eased past Championship side Reading 3-1 to advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
It was the three Brazilians that shone the brightest with Casemiro scoring a brace while Antony produced his first assist of the season.
While the former Real Madrid man rightfully took home all the plaudits, Fred‘s introduction as a substitute helped United take control as he grabbed a goal and an assist.
Fred shining under ETH
The goal was a thing of beauty as he flicked the ball past the helpless Reading goalie from a quick corner taken by Bruno Fernandes.
Since the World Cup break, the former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder has been instrumental in United’s good form.
Erik ten Hag has used him as a substitute when he needed goals and played him from the beginning in big games against teams that like to keep hold of the ball.
Fred is my favourite Manchester United redemption story. A big money signing set up to fail under previous managers, Erik ten Hag has played to his strengths & he's flourishing. Balling against big clubs & scoring goals like this in the Cup. Love it.#MUFC pic.twitter.com/Ax2AeV4XkZ
— Adam (@AdamJoseph____) January 29, 2023
Fred’s United career has never truly taken off and he is a much-maligned figure among fans and pundits who were tired of seeing him and Scott McTominay start games for the Red Devils.
But the former Ajax boss has clearly figured out the best way to use Fred and the team are certainly reaping the benefits.
One of his fiercest critics has been United legend Roy Keane. The former midfielder used to regularly lambast Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for picking the Brazilian midfielder.
Keane all praise for Fred
But after the Reading game, Keane was effusive in his praise for the 29-year-old.
He told ITV Sport, “That’s probably what I think is his role – coming off the bench, particularly in games like this when the game is done.
“Reading fall asleep at a corner, United have looked a bit better on set pieces recently. He just walks in there, he’s obviously got a trick, lovely little finish. Poor from Reading, but lovely little finish.”
Fred recently became United’s most capped Brazilian, making 184 appearances.
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