Fred hits out at 'STRANGE' decision by Manchester United to hire Ralf Rangnick as an interim manager

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Manchester United’s Brazil midfielder Fred admits it’s ‘strange’ having an interim manager in Ralf Rangnick and has criticised the club for not coming up with a long-term plan.

Rangnick leads United into Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 tie against Atletico Madrid expecting another hostile atmosphere at the Wanda Metropolitano three days after his players were attacked by Leeds fans at Elland Road.

But Fred has questioned the wisdom of appointing the German coach on a short-term basis until the end of the season, and believes United’s lack of planning has left the squad in the dark.

Manchester United midfielder Fred has hit out at his own club for not having a long-term plan

Manchester United midfielder Fred has hit out at his own club for not having a long-term plan

The Brazilian also admits it is 'strange' having interim coach Ralf Rangnick (left) at the club

The Brazilian also admits it is ‘strange’ having interim coach Ralf Rangnick (left) at the club

‘It’s a bit strange,’ said Fred when asked about Rangnick’s appointment in an interview with TNT Sports Brazil. ‘I know in football it’s important to get good results as soon as possible, but it’s also important to have a long-term plan.

‘I think it’s a little bit bad for us not to have one. At the moment it’s all about the short-term goals. We don’t know how it’s going to be after the end of this season.’ 

United haven’t lifted a trophy in five years, and come into Wednesday’s encounter having won just two of 12 Champions League knockout games since last reaching the final in 2011.

Their away record to Spanish teams in this competition is even worse, showing just three wins from 22 games – not to mention last season’s Europa League final defeat to Villarreal in Gdansk.

Fred has defied the doubters to take up a goalscoring role in at Old Trafford in recent weeks

Fred has defied the doubters to take up a goalscoring role in at Old Trafford in recent weeks

‘Every player that comes to this club wants to win titles,’ added Fred. ‘It’s the same with me, Bruno (Fernandes), Alex (Telles), Cristiano (Ronaldo), (Jadon) Sancho, all of us. We want trophies, but it’s been a long drought.

‘With all due respect to Villarreal, it was our job to win that Europa League final and we failed. It’s about having a better football planning at the club. If you don’t want to win titles, you don’t deserve to play for Manchester United.’ 

However, Spanish champions Atletico are having a difficult season, and Diego Simeone’s side are currently languishing fifth in LaLiga.

Danger men Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez are only expected to be fit for the bench on Wednesday, while Matheus Cunha and Yannick Carrasco have been ruled out due to a knee injury and suspension respectively.

United's next challenge is Wednesday's Champions League last-16 trip to Atletico Madrid

United’s next challenge is Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 trip to Atletico Madrid

Fred is expecting a battle every bit as ferocious as the 4-2 win at Leeds on Sunday, but believes United shouldn’t be written off as Champions League contenders just yet.

‘It wouldn’t be crazy,’ he said. ‘It could happen but we have to work our socks off because we’re far away from being one of the favourites in this competition.

‘I know we’re not playing our best football, but we have a lot of quality names in our squad. I see many other teams playing far off from their best as well. 

‘Even when not playing well, Atletico are a hard team to beat. Their manager is Argentinian, man, so they’re warriors. They like a bit of a fight on the pitch.

Fred has compared Diego Simeone's (above) squad to 'warriors' who 'like a bit of a fight'

Fred has compared Diego Simeone’s (above) squad to ‘warriors’ who ‘like a bit of a fight’

‘So it really doesn’t matter if Atletico are going through a bad moment. It’s a match for players that have balls, pardon my French. They’re the most South American team in the Champions League.’ 

Fred has started to win over some of the doubters with his performances recently, and even earned praise from arch-critic Roy Keane at Leeds when he came off the bench to score United’s crucial third goal.

‘I’ve had ups and downs since arriving here,’ said the Brazilian, a £52million signing from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013. 

‘I know I’m not the best player, the most technical, but I give my blood and my life every time I’m on the pitch. As we say in Brazil, I carry the piano for the artists to play. Some fans like me and others don’t. But football is like that, you need to learn to deal with criticism.

Fred (second right) accepts he's not the best player at United but claims he tries really hard

Fred (second right) accepts he’s not the best player at United but claims he tries really hard

‘I listen to constructive criticism, for sure, but there is a lot of criticism just to humiliate you. It’s easy to go on social media and write anything full of hatred.’ 

Three days after United were pelted with missiles at Leeds, they expect Ronaldo and Raphael Varane to be targeted by Atletico fans because of their links to city rivals Real Madrid.

Ronaldo and Varane both won the Champions League four times with Real – twice beating Atletico in the final – and the 37-year-old Portugal star also became the club’s record goal scorer.

United have two Champions League winners in Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Raphael Varane (right) in their team

United have two Champions League winners in Cristiano Ronaldo (right) and Raphael Varane (right) in their team

Rangnick said on Tuesday: ‘Mentally, we need to be prepared for an emotional, hostile atmosphere in the stadium. Some of the players will not be received with the red carpet.

‘Diego Simeone is one of the most emotional managers in Europe and the style his teams have reflects those emotions he tries to bring to the team. 

‘We need to match the emotions and energy in both games – I will try to prepare our team for that challenge.’

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