Brazil moved on the cusp of automatic qualification for the World Cup with a comfortable 4-1 win over Uruguay. Neymar, Raphinha, and Gabriel Barbosa were all on the score-sheet, but it was their midfield who really bossed the game.
The pair of Fabinho and Fred were intense from the get-go, maintaining possession and combining in attacks to open the Uruguayan defence.
Fred, who was given freedom to move higher up the pitch with Fabinho sitting back to protect the backline, rewarded manager Tite’s faith in him by assisting Neymar in the 10th minute of the game.
The 28-year-old found the Paris Saint-Germain star with a perfectly weighted pass in behind the Uruguay defence. Neymar did the rest by controlling the ball and rounding off the goalkeeper to open the scoring.
Neymar strikes first to give Brazil the lead against Uruguay! 🇧🇷
A delicious assist by Fred 🔥 pic.twitter.com/71Ho1TUteZ
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) October 15, 2021
In his post-match interview, Fred expressed his delight at the position he was deployed in against Uruguay. “It was one of the best matches I played for the national team, participating a little more in the attack,” he said.
The Brazilian midfielder further added: “We talk a lot about this role of second defensive midfielder. In Europe, you say it’s a box-to-box. You participate in the ball getting out and are able to participate more in the attack.
“If you lose the ball at the front, you’re already there to challenge for the ball. I really like to play like this. I prefer it, my ideal position is to get more involved in the attack.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can take a lot from Fred’s performance and his interview, as the former Shakhtar Donetsk man has come in for a lot of criticism for his display as the deepest midfielder at the club level. He can certainly offer much more at United going forward.
However, apart from Nemanja Matic, there aren’t many reliable defensive midfielders at Old Trafford. As such, Fred is likely to continue at his current position under Solskjaer for the time being.