'We're building something great' – Fred hopes for 'flying' Man Utd start under Ten Hag

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Manchester United midfielder Fred believes Erik ten Hag is "building something great" at Old Trafford, as the Brazilian targets a "flying" start to the upcoming Premier League campaign.

United won each of their first three friendlies under Ten Hag before ending their tour of Asia and Australia with a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa.

Having recorded their worst ever Premier League points tally (58) and defensive record (57 goals conceded) last term, results appear to be looking up for the Red Devils, for whom a 4-0 thrashing of Liverpool represents the high point of pre-season to date.

Fred has started all four friendlies as Ten Hag looks to implement a positive style of play at Old Trafford, and was effusive in his praise of the team's off-season work.

"I believe the team spirit is getting stronger," the Brazilian told the club's website. "We're working hard this pre-season so we can be flying when the league starts, that's the priority.

"We're building something great here, I hope it all works out over the season.

"Of course, there's a lot of quality with the young players, they've been impressing the manager as well.

"They've been great in training and in matches during this pre-season. I hope they can help us, the older players look to help them to settle into the team as well. Hopefully they can do great things with us in the future."

Only six United players – among them Cristiano Ronaldo, David de Gea and Harry Maguire – played more Premier League minutes than Fred last term (2,035 across 28 games), and the 29-year-old also recorded his best ever goals and assists tallies (both four) in the competition.

But Fred says he is content with playing the role of "piano carrier" next term – a common Brazilian phrase for those who allow others to thrive through their defensive work.

"Last season, I played a bit further forward under Ralf [Rangnick], he gave me a bit more freedom to get in the box to score and assist," Fred added.

"We'll see what Erik asks of me now, he may want me more in the build-up of play.

"As I just said, regardless of scoring, I want to help my team-mates. I want to carry the piano on the pitch for them to score and help the team.

"The most important thing is that we achieve our goals to take us as far as possible."

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