The will-he-go, will-hi-stay Cristiano Ronaldo affair may have dominated Manchester United’s summer, but his former Real Madrid teammate Rafael Verne is also facing scrutiny.
Arne’s signing last summer – along with the arrival of Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho – was hailed as one of the final pieces in the title puzzle for the club, but it proved far from it as United were at their best in the Premier League era. Got down to bad marks. ,
Far from bolstering the defence, United conceded as many goals as they scored (57), their worst defensive record for more than 30 years.
Varane’s performance on the pitch proved to be as inconsistent as his performance record. The France international lost 20 of 49 games in all competitions and, crucially, was absent for almost half of the 38 Premier League fixtures, starting only 20 and coming in as a substitute in two.
Instead of building a solid understanding with defensive partner Harry Maguire, United looked weaker than ever and the captain’s form was in shambles.
Maguire was unfairly chosen for most of the criticism, while Varane’s far-right performances drew much criticism.
However, he has admitted that he needs a big improvement over the last season along with every player. Erik ten Haag’s decision to buy Lysandro Martinez from former club Ajax is believed to have put pressure on Maguire, given that the Argentine international plays in the same position.
But Ten Haag has said Maguire will remain captain, while Varane is also under pressure until he improves his injury record.
The manager revealed that the 2018 World Cup winner was put on a special fitness program to ensure that he is fit enough to start the season.
Asked how confident he is about getting the best out of Varane, Ten Haag said: “Very. I am 100 pcs sure about it. We meticulously built him with a personalized schedule during the pre-season, and over the last three weeks, I think he’s been on the pitch every season and I’m really happy with it. If Rafael is fit then it is a huge force for the team and the team.
Ten Haag made it clear that one of the reasons he bought Martinez was that he preferred left-footed players to the left of his defense – and right-footed players.
The Dutchman is well aware that if Martinez – who comes with a reputation for being a fearless, tough tackler as well as being good on the ball – settles down well then he should have Maguire and Varane as his regular teammates. have to choose between.
But he clarified that he will be guided by performance rather than name, price and reputation.
“We need that competition in this team,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, it [selection] Everything is open, but, in addition to the competition, we are also going into a long season with a lot of games, so we need a lot of players, quality players to cover all the games. ,
Ten Hag certainly faces a lot of competition in defense. In addition to having five centre-backs, Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will battle for the right-back slot, while new guy Tyrell Malasia will challenge Luke Shaw on the left.
Ahead, they believe Marcus Rashford and Sancho can rediscover their best form after a poor season and seal their England places for the World Cup.
He is pragmatic about United’s demand not only to win matches but in style.
“They always want to play great football,” he said. “That’s why I’m here and I love it. But even if you can’t win well, in a fun way, you still have to win.
Ronaldo has only played 45 minutes of pre-season football after a family problem prevented him from joining the team on their tour. He has made it clear that he wants to leave, but there is no taker yet.
He has trained for a full week and Ten Haig could well start him against Brighton as Anthony Martial is injured.
“How do I feel about starting the season with Ronaldo? I’m really happy,” said Ten Haag. “We have a top striker and I’m really happy that he’s here, he’s in the team, and we’re sticking to the plan.”
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