Jose Mourinho admits he can not grant £ 52m for the summer by signing Fred on his team until Manchester United tightens on the defensive.
The 25-year-old started only three of United's last 14 games and remained out of the team completely against Arsenal mid-week.
Fred has blamed his lack of opportunity for the first team to lose his place in the Brazilian national team, but Mourinho believes he can not be risked on a regular basis until there are no more defensive-minded players around him.
Midfielder Fred arrives at Manchester United's Carrington training ground on Friday morning
Manchester United signed Fred for £ 52m last summer, but struggled to make his mark
Jose Mourinho says he can not trust playing Fred until his United side is no longer defensive
The Brazilian signed a five-year contract at Old Trafford in July after leaving Shakhtar Donetsk
Fred's statistics during the 2018-19 season
Asked about the developments of the former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder, the head of United said: "Step by step, you also have other players in other clubs that needed their time, and some of them have even played less than what Fred is playing.
"I think Fred is stronger on the defensive and does not need midfield who is more concerned with giving a little balance to the team than being involved in creating and attacking dynamically, the day we are stronger defensively I think that the horizons for Fred changes completely. & # 39;
Fred signs autographs in front of Carrington as he leaves the club's training base on Friday
The Brazilian midfielder is challenged by Djibril Sow of the Young Boys at Old Trafford last month
Mourinho believes that Fred will play more when he does not need so many defensive midfielders
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United faced Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday without a win in four Premier League games, Mourinho admits there will be no "excuses" if his team can not beat the team below under new manager Claudio Ranieri .
He confirmed that Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial are doubts about the wound.
"I want to be positive and think we will win," Mourinho added. "But if we do not, give credit to people who deserve credit. The game will not be 11 against zero, it will be 11 against 11, good players from the other side.
"The position, the points sometimes do not say much about the real potential of the team, of one of the two most important managers in the history of the Premier League, so they have the potential to come here tomorrow and to give us a very difficult game. & # 39;
Mourinho was heartened by United's performance in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal. He left Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, and he believes his team has shown great character.
Jesse Lingard celebrates with Diogo Dalot after scoring 2-2 against Arsenal
Mourinho believes there have been many good points during his team's draw Wednesday night
"My players ran more and ran more with greater intensity," he added. "We reward the ball more, we put the difficulties in opposition, we are quick in our transitions, so we had that spirit, we had that mentality that brought our game to a good level, to a better level.
"There are special players with special features and just to give you a couple of examples, (Ander) Herrera and (Marcus) Rashford are the kind of players that even if their game is not phenomenal, that intensity, desire, sacrifice it is always present.
"But I prefer to say that the team had that mentality. I know that only two days is not easy. Fulham is in the same situation as us, but probably the way they come to play or try to play will not require as much from them as we do. But no excuse.
"I sat here a few weeks ago talking about December and without defeats, this is a reality. Good battles, good spirit, but only a win against Young Boys and three draws and we need points, but Fulham is the same, they need points. "
Anthony Martial (left) celebrates after finding the back of the net against Unai Emery's men
Asked why he still believes that finishing the penultimate season is one of his biggest hits, Mourinho said: "Because a team – and I'm not talking about our situation – can finish tenth and a manager feels like a champion.
"If you talk to David Wagner, Rafa Benitez, Claudio now, and tell them you're about to finish 10, they'll feel like a champion.
"I did a fantastic job, I stayed ahead of teams with more potential than my team, last season we came second and I felt I was ahead of teams with more potential than us."