Troy Deeney reveals Watford ‘targeted’ Manchester United midfielder Fred in recent clash


The Hornets ended up losing 3-0 at Old Trafford back in February (Picture: Getty)

Troy Deeney has revealed that Watford’s players targeted Manchester United midfielder Fred in their recent Premier League clash, though praised the Brazilian for always trying to be positive.

The teams faced off at the end of February at Old Trafford, with United winning 3-0 to avenge their defeat at Vicarage Road, though the visitors had several excellent opportunities in the first half and thought they had scored only for VAR to rule out Deeney’s effort.

The Watford skipper says the team felt they could get opportunities on the break if they pressed Fred – who has enjoyed an excellent campaign – saying he took too long on the ball.

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Asked which players made a difference for United in the second game, Deeney told The United Stand: ‘I thought Bruno [Fernandes] was very good, surprised me how good he was.

‘I liked Fred – although he gives the ball away a lot he always wants it. So sometimes you see a player lose the ball and then they just go safe, backwards, left, right, he’s just like, “Alright, I lost it, but next one”.

‘Because we targeted him. We targeted him, not the manager, but on the pitch he gave the ball away two or three times and we were like, “Let him have it and then we’ll jump on him”.

‘We probably won the ball back four or five times in the first half. We tried to do that because we know he likes to take four or five touches instead of maybe doing the two.’

On the game itself, Deeney said: ‘3-0 I think it was, but that wasn’t a fair reflection of it was it, in reality.

‘Our first half – it’s probably happened about four years in a row – every time I play at Man United I’m like, “How are we losing?”

‘I don’t mean this nasty, but there’s times where we’ve battered you in terms of like – you’ll always have possession – but chances created, should have scored, we were better. And then I’m like, “We’re losing 1-0? What’s happened here?”

Deeney thought he’d scored but the goal was ruled out by VAR (Picture: Getty)

‘I think two things: we can probably get a bit carried away, in a sense of like: “this is going better than [we thought] so let’s be more attacking” and kind of get lax on the defensive part.

‘But also you have to look at the players United have got, you’re talking levels to football. Martial, Rashford, Bruno, Iggy. Just look at who you’ve spent money on, and in five years in the Prem we’ve spent £30m once. It doesn’t mean we can’t compete, it doesn’t mean you always get it right when you buy big, but it’s just levels.’

MORE: How a chat with new Man Utd coach Martyn Pert helped revive Fred’s career under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

MORE: Troy Deeney says Manchester United can’t attract players better than Paul Pogba

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