Manchester United had a “great season” in 2020-21 despite their trophy drought stretching to four years, midfielder Fred said.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side finished in the top two of the Premier League for only the second time since Alex Ferguson retired after securing the title in 2012-13.
However, the Red Devils were 12 points adrift of Manchester City, who also defeated them in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, while their FA Cup campaign was ended by Leicester City at the quarter-final stage.
After dropping out of the Champions League following defeats in their final two group games to Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig, United reached the final of the Europa League, ending a run of four consecutive semi-final defeats in cup competitions under Solskjaer.
They could not end their wait for silverware, though, goalkeeper David de Gea missing the crucial penalty in a shoot-out with Villarreal following a goalless draw in Gdansk.
That failure to win the final prompted questions over Solskjaer’s long-term suitability to the manager’s job despite the Norwegian having improved United’s league campaign compared with 2019-20, when United won three games fewer, scored seven fewer goals and finished on 66 points, a massive 33 behind champions Liverpool.
Fred sees reason to be optimistic about the future, insisting United can be happy with their efforts given their involvement in last term’s rearranged Europa League semi-finals meant they had no proper pre-season.
“We had the Europa League semi-final, which prolonged last season,” he told United’s website. “We didn’t have a pre-season and got better and better over the season and reached the final.
“I think overall the team’s had a great season, we could have achieved more, we wanted to win more trophies, but I think generally it’s been a great season.”
Fred, who is with the Brazil squad preparing for the Copa America, made 48 appearances in all competitions in 2020-21, a tally surpassed by only six United players.
“It’s really important to me to be starting in games, to be in the 11,” he said. “I’ve played and started in a lot of games this season. I’m really happy with this, happy to have been in good form and having a great season together with the entire team.
“As I’ve already said, I want much more, more trophies with United, I want to achieve a lot here and I’m sure there’s a lot more to come.”