Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joked that he thought he might never see Fred score for Manchester United before the midfielder’s double against Club Brugge.
The Brazil international scored the fourth and fifth goals as United beat the Belgian side 5-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday to secure a place in the Europa League last 16.
Fred has not scored since September 2018 and Solskjaer admits he was beginning to think it might never happen.
“I wasn’t sure if I was gonna be alive the next time he scored a goal,” laughed Solskjaer.
“It’s been an ongoing joke between us of course, but he got that goal. I’m very pleased with him.”
As well as Fred’s brace, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes also scored while there was a first United goal for deadline day signing Odion Ighalo.
It was a well-timed contribution for the Nigerian, who may have to start again against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday after Anthony Martial failed a fitness test on Thursday morning.
“He went off in training,” said Solskjaer.
“He had treatment, he tried [to play against Brugge]. He reported and had a fitness test. It’s his thigh, it’s in and around the knee.”