Manchester United were able to secure a 1-0 win over bitter rivals Manchester City at the Etihad on Wednesday.
However, the size of the victory was inconsequential with regard to the larger Carabao Cup tie as the Sky Blues had already won 3-1 in the first leg, ensuring that the Red Devils were a goal shy of forcing the game to a penalty shootout finish.
The night’s sole goal came via Nemanja Matic who was promptly sent off in the second half after a second yellow-card, effectively fizzling out the late attacking spirit that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men sought to bring to the game.
Having said that, United will still be pleased with managing a victory and one player has received praise from a commendable source.
Fred has been very good in the last few big games I’ve watched him.
— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) January 29, 2020
Cesc Fabregas singled out Fred to be congratulated for his performance in the derby, in particular, and for the Brazilian’s recent big-game showings in general.
The former Arsenal, Barcelona, and Chelsea midfielder was certainly on the right track given that Fred has been the heart of United’s midfield, especially after Scott McTominay has been on the sidelines due to injury.
Further still, his numbers against City were consistently brilliant, as has been the case in the last few fixtures where his individual accolades have risen above the larger shortcomings of his side.
Now, it is vital for United to provide players like Fred with the apt set-up to unleash their best possible form. The acquisition of an attacking midfielder in the form of Bruno Fernandes will mean that Fred can be deployed in a more fluid role and pose a greater threat in goal-creation.
In the long run when both Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba are fully fit, it will take exceptional performances to oust or pair the indomitable Brazilian in the midfield.