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MANCHESTER, England -- Jose Mourinho has said it is a risk to play Brazilian midfielder Fred while Manchester United are leaking goals.
Fred, a £48 million summer signing from Shakhtar Donetsk, has started just three of the last 14 games and was axed from the squad for the midweek 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
United have conceded 25 goals in the Premier League -- only one fewer than 17th-placed Huddersfield -- and Mourinho said they had to tighten up at the back before the 25-year-old could get a run in the team.
"You have also other players in other clubs that needed their time and you have some of them that played even less than Fred is playing," he told a news conference ahead of Fulham's visit to Old Trafford on Saturday.
"I think Fred, when the team is defensively stronger and doesn't need in midfield people that are more working in giving balance than being involved in creation and attacking dynamic, the day we are stronger defensively I think the horizons for Fred change completely."