Raphael Varane noticed an instant improvement from Manchester United in Erik ten Hag’s first game but warned there is a long way to go.
The Red Devils got off to a solid start under their new manager, beating Liverpool 4-0 in their first pre-season match. Jadon Sancho made it 1-0 early on but it was 3-0 before half time.
Liverpool of course had their chances, with new signing Darwin Nunez missing a golden chance.
However, Ten Hag’s team were clinical when it mattered and Facundo Pellistri made it 4-0 late on.
Speaking after the exhibition match in Bangkok, France international centre-back Varane felt an improvement overall for Man Utd – not just in attack. However, he insisted that it remains only start of a long journey.
“We know exactly how we want to play,” Varane told Sky Sports. “The manager explained very well what we have to do and it’s absolutely clear.
“So we know we have to be very fit because it’s a very physical way to play. We are happy with the result obviously but we know we have to work very hard still to be ready for the start of the season.
“We’re working a lot, so we try to be absolutely ready for the beginning of the season.
“This is just the start of the pre-season so it’s just the beginning, but we know exactly where we want to go.”
Varane notices Man Utd change
Asked about a noticeable change in goalkeeper David de Gea, who enjoyed more of the ball and contributed to build-up play, Varane said: “Yes, exactly. We try, as I say, to keep the ball in possession, to play very fast and play forward when it’s possible.
“So, yeah, we enjoy to play like this and we try to improve and to get fit.”
Varane, a four-time Champions League winner at Real Madrid before moving to Old Trafford, talked of the “ambition for the season” the United squad has.
But he stressed that working with “humility” is the “most important” first step, following last season’s troubles.
United march on in pre-season
United next face Melbourne Victory on Friday in their next pre-season game with a win under their belt.
For players like Varane, the upcoming campaign is a chance to prove themselves again.
The Frenchman was a vital part of a golden era at Madrid, but did not produce his best in his debut season at Old Trafford due to injuries.
He therefore has a chance to get back to his best and help United get back into the Premier League’s top four and into the Champions League.