Ten Hag Reveals Key Instruction to Fred That Helped Win Midfield Battle vs Barcelona

Ten Hag Reveals Key Instruction to Fred That Helped Win Midfield Battle vs Barcelona

Elijah Odetokun
February 24, 2023 at 12:46 PM
  • Manchester United progressed to the round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League after beating Barcelona
  • The Red Devils will face another Spanish opposition Real Betis after the draws were made today
  • Head coach Erik Ten Hag revealed a key player's role that helped in defeating the Blaugrana

The dust is yet to settle on the encounter between Manchester United and Barcelona after the two sides produced high-quality games over the two legs, but the English side prevailed.

Erik Ten Hag's men rallied to a comeback win, with two goals from the Brazilian duo of Fred and Antony in the second half after going down in the first half to Robert Lewandowski's penalty.

The Dutch manager has now opened up on a crucial tactical tweak that helped his team win the midfield battle and, ultimately, the match, utilising the work-rate of Fred.

Erik Ten Hag, Manchester United, UEFA Europa League, Old Trafford.
Erik Ten Hag passing instructions to his players against Barcelona. Photo by David S. Bustamante.
Source: Getty Images

Ten Hag praises Fred's tenacity

Barcelona were without midfielders Pedri and Gavi, who missed the match through injury and suspension, respectively. Frenkie De Jong, who turned down an approach for United last summer as reported by talkSPORT, was utilised in moving the ball from midfield.

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Speaking to MUTV after the match, Ten Hag revealed he marked his compatriot out of the game with Brazilian midfielder Fred all around him like a mosquito and helping himself to a goal in the process.

“He had an important role already last week in Barcelona, and this week the same. He had first to stop Frenkie de Jong from playing, he had to play as a mosquito around him and go behind him, and he did it magnificently,” he said.
“Last week, I think he gave a brilliant assist for Rashy [Marcus Rashford] in Barcelona, and today he scored the goal. A brilliant performance,” he added.
Frenkie De Jong, Fred, Manchester United, Barcelona, Old Trafford, UEFA Europa League.
Fred played like a mosquito around Frenkie De Jong according to Ten Hag. Photo by Pedro Salado.
Source: Getty Images

Fernandes sparks brawl with De Jong incident

Sports Brief earlier reported that Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes started a brawl after hitting the ball at Frenkie De Jong, who was down at that time.

Robert Lewandowski and Franck Kessie were the first Barcelona players quick to react to the mayhem, which resulted in a booking for the Portuguese midfielder and Kessie.

United fans on social media had two theories around it; first, because the Dutch midfielder rejected a move to Old Trafford in the summer and second, because Xavi called Fernandes 'the Portuguese guy' ahead of the match.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.
Erik Ten HaagUEFA Europa League