Fred was left on the bench this week as United drew at Southampton and was dropped from the squad altogether on Wednesday as Mourinho's side twice fought back from behind to secure a point against Arsenal.
Mourinho's side are in eighth place in the Premier League table and eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea FC in the race to secure the final Champions League spot.
The Red Devils are struggling to score goals, too, given the well-documented struggles of marquee signings Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez over the past 12 months.
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Former England defender Ferdinand admitted that Manchester United are a long way behind their traditional rivals in the top-four race. Manchester United will take on Fulham, while Crystal Palace travel across London to face West Ham United (all at 7pm).
"I think that when the team is defensively stronger and doesn't need in midfield people who are more anxious about giving balance in the team than creativity, and the day we are stronger defensively, then the horizons change for Fred".
Mourinho says he is reluctant to play the midfielder until he gets used to the Premier League and becomes better at positional discipline because the United defence needs protection.
And Mourinho insisted Fred's lack of game time will only be rectified once United can provide a solid platform for him to build from.