FRED'S struggles to break into the Manchester United first team look set to continue until the club solves their defensive issues, Jose Mourinho has revealed.
The Brazil international arrived from Shahktar Donetsk in the summer for £52m.
Reuters4 Fred has seen his opportunities limited this season
But he has not figured in four of United's last five games in all competitions and was omitted from the squad for the 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
Meanwhile, United have the worst defensive record outside of the Premier League's bottom five and manager Jose Mourinho says Fred cannot be accommodated while the back-line continue to flounder.
He told the media ahead of the weekend visit of Fulham: “Step by step, you have also other players in other clubs that needed their time and you have some of them that played even less than what Fred is playing,
“I think Fred when the team is defensively stronger and doesn't need in midfield people that is more worried in giving some balance to the team than being involved in creation and attacking dynamic.
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4 This is United's fourth worst start to a Premier League campaign after 15 matches
PA:Press Association4 Mourinho is looking for a return to winning ways
“The day we are stronger defensively I think the horizons for Fred change completely.”
Though the stalemate with Arsenal extended United's winless Premier League run to four games Mourinho saw plenty to give him encouragement for the rest of the season.
United displayed renewed vigour without the ball and showed character to twice come from behind to snatch a point.
And Mourinho feels Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera's performances summed up the improvement, though he admits neither are currently playing to their potential.
AFP or licensors4 United twice came from behind to draw with Arsenal
He added: “We press the ball more, gave difficulties to the opponent, we were fast in our transitions.
"We had that spirit, we had that mentality that brought our game to a good level, to a better level.
“There are special players with special characteristics and just to give you a couple of examples, Herrera and Rashford are the kind of players that even if their game is not phenomenal, that intensity, desire, sacrifice is always present.
"But I prefer to say the team as a team had that mentality."