Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag wins support of Man Utd colossus with Champions League win possible: ‘We have the quality to compete with the best’

Manchester United's Raphael Varane (left) and Victor Lindelof

Manchester United's Raphael Varane (left) and Victor Lindelof

Raphael Varane has backed Man United boss Erik ten Hag to have a successful season despite a tricky start to their 2023-24 campaign, including potential Champions League success.

United have endured their worst start to a Premier League season since 1989 after losing four of their opening seven games following the 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. They are currently tenth in the top flight with just nine points amassed so far this term.

The last time the Red Devils endured such a poor opening to a league season was when Sir Alex Ferguson was at the helm and had to fend off fan protests to keep himself in a job.

Ten Hag’s side also suffered defeat in the opening match of their return to the Champions League in a 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich but their Carabao Cup win over Palace last week seemed to paper over some of the cracks that were emerging at the club.

There is no doubt that United have been struggling with injuries this term and recently confirmed that Lisandro Martinez is now facing an extended period out of action and will require surgery on a foot injury he suffered back in April.

Martinez is just one of a long list of players on the treatment table including Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and youngster Amad Diallo who had a hugely impressive spell on loan at Sunderland last year.

Summer signing Sergio Reguilon is still facing time out with a minor injury and fellow new arrival Mason Mount had also been sidelined with an injury that he picked up earlier this season but returned to the starting XI for the defeat to Palace.

New goalkeeper Andre Onana has also struggled to hit the ground running at Old Trafford following his arrival from Inter Milan this summer as a replacement for David de Gea. The Cameroon international has kept three clean sheets so far this season but has conceded 15 goals in his first eight games between the sticks for United.

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Varane is confident United can salvage their season

United defender Raphael Varane is adamant that his side can still win the Champions League and make their season a success, despite a rocky start.

As quoted by the Metro, when asked if the Red Devils are capable of going all the way in Europe, Varane said: “Yes, I think so. The quality is in the squad, as I said, this competition is difficult you have to take care of every detail.”

But the centre-back insisted that, with the players they have got, United have what it takes to be successful, he said: “We have a team with quality, a good mentality, yes we have to make some improvements, it is not the start to the season we expected. But I still believe we have the quality to compete with the best teams in the world.”

United made it to the quarter-finals of the Europa League last year after reaching the final in the 2020-21 season where they were beaten on penalties by Villarreal. The Manchester club reached the semi-final in the 2019-20 season and last won the competition in 2017, defeating Ajax 2-0 in the final to lift the trophy.

Ten Hag’s side face Galatasaray at Old Trafford in matchday two of their Champions League campaign on Tuesday October 3. The Red Devils are bottom of the group after the opening games with the Turkish side salvaging a point despite going 2-0 down to FC Copenhagen.

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