Paul Scholes says he understands Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to keep Fred on the pitch against Paris Saint-Germain last night despite the threat of the Brazilian being sent off, speaking to the Manchester Evening News.
Fred was fortunate not to get sent off in the first half. He appeared to move his head forward to make contact with PSG midfielder Leandro Paredes, who fell to the floor.
Despite consulting VAR, the referee opted for a yellow rather than a red card for the 27-year-old. However, Fred received his marching orders in the 70th minute for a second yellow following a challenge on former Manchester United player Ander Herrera.
The sending-off ultimately cost United the game. The Red Devils had just gone behind in the match and, with United down to ten men for the final 20 minutes, the Parisians strolled to a 3-1 win.
Many fans and pundits questioned why Solskjaer didn’t substitute Fred with the threat of a second yellow hanging over his head.
Speaking as a pundit for BT Sport, Scholes believed the decision was based on how well the midfielder was playing.
The Brazilian had the fifth-most touches among United players in the match (Whoscored), despite only playing 70 minutes. He also completed the most successful passes from United players who started the match (93.9% accuracy).
Fred was also accurate from his two lengthy passes and made two tackles.
Scholes insisted the side had played “excellently” with Fred at the heart of the midfield and a substitution risked disrupting United’s momentum.
He said: “I can understand why Ole hasn’t taken him off. In the last 35 minutes of that first half, United were excellent.
“They were controlling the game and I think Ole will be really happy with the performance. I thought they were excellent.”
Scholes: Referee ‘waiting for him’
Although the dismissal seemed inevitable, circumstances surrounding Fred’s sending off were harsh.
He won the ball in his tackle on Herrera. However, his decision to go to ground left the referee with “no choice”, according to Scholes.
“Fred really should know that any other tackle he’s going to make, the ref will be ready to send him off.
“He’s unlucky as he gets the ball first but the referee’s waiting for him to do it.”
United now require a point in their final group game – away at RB Leipzig – to advance into the last-16 of the competition.
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