Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has opened up on his struggles from last season and revealed the effect that Erik ten Hag has had on the team since his early-season struggles.
The France star has started all four of the Premier League outings that United have won this season after they suffered humiliating losses in their opening two games to Brighton and Brentford.
Varane struggled in his first campaign in England, struggling with injuries and his fitness. Indeed, he made just 20 starts despite his high-profile move from Real Madrid.
However, Varane is now part of a new-look United back-four that also includes Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia, with former record signing Harry Maguire dumped on the bench.
And speaking ahead of France’s upcoming Nations League games against Austria and Denmark, Varane admitted he is enjoying life in Manchester much more now than last season.
He said: “I’m very happy, I’m having a lot of fun. Last season was irregular for me.
“At the beginning of the season we are getting good results and we are enjoying playing and fighting together. I also came to England to experience emotions like this and every match is a fight, a challenge.
“I like that. Being able to play regularly, having had a full pre-season, makes me feel good on the pitch.”
The Red Devils have conceded only two goals with Varane starting this season. That is a far cry from their struggles when Maguire started alongside new boy Martinez.
United have conceded just two goals with Varane on the pitch so far this season. With club captain Harry Maguire currently out of the side, Ten Hag recently described Varane as the leader at the back.
Ten Hag methods now producing results
Following the Europa League win over FC Sheriff, Ten Hag revealed the importance of Varane.
He said: said: “The reason (for another clean sheet) is we were good in possession and we defended very well. With Rapha Varane there as the leader, he puts everyone in the right position. He fits really good together with Licha Martinez and also the two full-backs did their job really good.
“Difficult start, opponent really played direct, opportune, go for second ball. We lost too many balls at the start of the game but after a certain period I think we found a better formation, especially over on the left side.
“And you see we can play between the lines and we adapted our game and we scored a great goal and from that moment on we dictated the game total.”
United are back in Premier League action on October 2 when they take on bitter rivals Manchester City.
A fifth victory in a row will see the Red Devils move to within two points of Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ten Hag will now be hoping that his players return from the international break in good health so they can continue their current fine run of form.