The Brazilian had a splendid game against Leeds United in the season opener. He scored the club’s final goal in the convincing 5-1 win at Old Trafford.
However, he struggled to replicate the showing at St Mary’s. He was dispossessed on 16 occasions in 76 minutes while also being dribbled past thrice.
He also conceded an own goal in the 30th minute. Fred dangled his left foot at Che Adams’ effort, which led to a huge deflection that beat David de Gea.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer said that there was a foul on Bruno Fernandes in the lead-up to the goal, but was still critical over Fred’s failed interception.
He said: “It seems like football has gone from one extreme to the other – that’s a foul, definitely, 100 percent.”
“But it happens in football that you don’t get every decision. We should’ve reacted better, of course.
“It might be a little bit lucky it deflected off Fred, but he shouldn’t have dangled his leg.
“He should’ve blocked that shot. So we need better reactions when we don’t get decisions.”
Solskjaer has often protected his players from criticism, but he was far from impressed with Fred’s unconvincing attempt to block Adams’ shot.
The Brazilian has been a regular starter alongside Scott McTominay over the past 18 months, but he can’t take his place for granted.
The club are not close to signing a defensive midfielder this summer, but there are suggestions that they could do so in 12 months.
Fred is one of them fighting for a starting spot. His inconsistency may lead to doubts whether he has a long-term future at the club.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and Sofascore.com