Raphael Varane has opened up on playing alongside Harry Maguire – a player who has drawn severe criticism for sub-par displays at Manchester United this season.
Varane was signed in the summer to finally provide Maguire with a world class partner at centre-half. However, injury issues have limited his impact thus far. But even when the Frenchman has played, United’s defence has looked anything but watertight.
Indeed, new interim boss Ralf Rangnick recently stressed the importance of United wresting their leaky defence under control.
“The major target for me in the next couple of weeks is just to bring more balance into the team,” said Rangnick (via the Manchester Evening News).
“Even yesterday [against Arsenal], we conceded two goals and needed three goals, in the end, to win the game.
“If you look at the total number of goals conceded, it is almost two, on average, per game, and this is just too much.”
The Red Devils have conceded 24 goals in the league so far this term – a figure at least twice the size of the number conceded by Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Now, speaking to the Telegraph, Varane has opened up on partnering Maguire at the heart of defence. That pairing will likely be the one Rangnick settles on when all are fit despite Maguire courting heavy criticism this season.
Nevertheless, Varane insisted he and Maguire can form a stubborn pairing with their qualities meshing well together. He also hinted he would have no issues playing alongside any other centre-back currently on the club’s books.
Varane and Maguire are “complimentary”
“We have complementary qualities,” said Varane. “I like to protect the back of the defence and he likes to go [slaps hands] in the contact.
“So, we can do both, but, obviously, because of our characteristics we prefer some situations and that’s why we are complementary.
“We can also play with Victor, Eric or Phil, who have their own qualities, so there are many options.”
Varane experience shows in Man Utd vow
Varane then insisted United can turn their ailing season around with his experience shining through in his comments.
“Maybe it’s about confidence as a group, as a team. Sometimes with Madrid we played very bad, but we stayed calm because we knew our moment was coming and we would kill them,” added Varane.
“I remember games, for example, against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and they were better than us, but we won.
“This is confidence and we had to build it. Before starting to win the Champions League consecutively, it was not the same.
“The team had the same quality, but not the same result. So why? It’s something mental. If we keep working, the results will come. We have to believe.
“We have to stay calm and focus on our work. That’s what I say to my team-mates in the dressing room. There’s no other choice.”