Home » Raphael Varane enjoying the challenge under Erik ten Hag

Raphael Varane enjoying the challenge under Erik ten Hag

United defender has transformed the defence since his start against Liverpool

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Manchester United’s start to the Premier League was reminiscent of the way they ended the previous campaign, limping to back-to-back defeats at the hands of Brighton and Brentford.

The performance against the Bees was especially concerning and new manager Erik ten Hag was forced into making tactical as well as personnel alterations ahead of their clash against arch-rivals Liverpool.

One of the more significant changes included the entry of Raphael Varane at the heart of the defence alongside new recruit Lisandro Martinez. And that change has proved to be a masterstroke.

Varane the leader

United have played six times since and have won all five games where the Frenchman has started while keeping three clean sheets. The opposition has managed to score only twice in 495 minutes of football.

The impressive four-game winning streak in the league includes victories over Liverpool and league leaders Arsenal as well as impressive wins over Leicester City and Southampton.

Ten Hag had indicated that the former Real Madrid star needed a proper pre-season to rediscover his form after last season’s disappointing show which included multiple injury-enforced absences.

After being put on a separate fitness programme, Varane has a looked a different beast this season and is showing the same kind of form that he was showing back at Madrid when winning multiple Champions League titles.

And the French defender has himself come out and said how much of an advantage a proper pre-season has proved to be.

“Being able to play regularly, having had a full pre-season, allows me to feel good on the pitch,” the French international was quoted as saying by RMC Sport while on national duty.

Varane enjoying the battles

The 29-year-old’s signing was supposed to be the start of something special but he hardly managed to build any real rhythm thanks to injuries and COVID while multiple managers with different ideas hardly helped.

United legend Rio Ferdinand had touched upon this and had added that fans would get to see the best of the World Cup winner this season. And his words have proved to be right.

The confidence is flowing once again and Varane has had no problems with battling physical striker like Gabriel Jesus as well as fast and mobile attackers like Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz.

“I’m very happy. I’m enjoying it a lot. Last season was irregular for me. This start to the season, we’re getting good results, taking pleasure in playing, in fighting together. I also came to England to live emotions like that, and every game is a battle, a challenge. I like it,” Varane added.

The busy October schedule will be a big challenge for United and fans and Ten Hag will be hoping Varane can return from international duty injury-free and continue in the same vein especially for the Manchester Derby.

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