Manchester United can challenge for trophies under Ten Hag, says Varane

AFP , Tuesday 3 May 2022

Raphael Varane
Manchester United s French defender Raphael Varane celebrates after scoring a goal during the match with Brentford at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, England, Monday, May 2, 2022. Photo courtesy of Manchester United Facebook page.

Raphael Varane says Manchester United can challenge for trophies next season under new manager Erik ten Hag despite another disappointing campaign for the Premier League giants.

Varane joined United -- along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho -- after they had finished second in the league and reached the final of the Europa League last season.

But after a bright start to the campaign the club ran aground, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer exiting and interim boss Ralf Rangnick struggling to turn things around.

United are almost certain to miss out on Champions League qualification but Varane, who has won multiple trophies with France and Real Madrid, is confident next season will be better.

The 29-year-old World Cup winner, who scored in Monday's 3-0 victory against Brentford, told the PA news agency it had been a "frustrating season" but said the club could bounce back strongly.

"I'm always positive and I think with a good pre-season, with good work, we can prepare well for next season and be ready to fight for every trophy," he said. "That's the ambition of this club."

United are trophyless since winning the Europa League final in 2017 against Ajax, whose current manager will be taking over at Old Trafford at the end of the season.

Ten Hag, on track to win a third Dutch league title, has some big decisions to make when he takes the Old Trafford reins, with significant incoming and outgoings expected.

Varane knows United's defence is an area that requires improvement but believes in the quality of the central defenders, saying the whole team needs to be more consistent.

"I think we have good players, players with experience," he said when asked about his fellow centre-backs.

"I think it's not just about the defence but the whole team. I think we can improve, we can defend better.

"We can be more in control during games. Sometimes we're able to play very well for 20 to 30 minutes and then play bad 10 or 15 minutes. We lost a lot of points like this."

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