RAPHAEL VARANE believes everything is in place at Manchester United for him to add to his haul of Champions League winner’s medals.
Varane won the competition four times in five seasons from 2013 to 2018 during his time with Real Madrid.
And the French World Cup winner does not want to stop there.
“Since I have been here I have seen a lot of quality in this team with huge potential, I’m convinced of that.
“We are working hard in training and I think we are improving all the time.
This team is on a positive upward curve.
“There is talent and experience, in fact there is everything you need to have that belief that you can do well.
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“What we have to do is believe in ourselves, be ambitious and believe in our own potential. If we do that we can achieve things.
“Everything is there in the right place we just need to concentrate on the little details.”
It was a big decision for centre-back Varane to leave Real Madrid where he had enjoyed so much success to come to a club that is trying to get back to the top.
But it is not one he regrets.
He said: “It was a long process and I had to give it a lot of thought. It was not like an overnight decision.
“I wanted to leave Madrid for sure but I wanted to leave on good terms.
“I just wanted to try myself in another league, I wanted something different.
“I knew the Premier League was a fantastic league and now I have seen that for myself.
“It is always hard to make comparisons but these are two big clubs always wanting a lot from their players and expect a lot from their players and there are a lot of demands.
“The hopes and expectations are very similar.
‘YOU LIVE WITH PRESSURE AT THE BIG CLUBS’
“You know what it is going to be like if you suffer a defeat or a draw, it is always very negative.
“You just need to keep on a good run of results and be positive.
“That pressure, you live with in the big clubs.”
The pressure is certainly on United on Wednesday after a run of three defeats in four across three competitions.
They lost their opening Champions League Group game against Young Boys in Bern and now face a Villarreal side at Old Trafford who defeated them in last season’s Europa League Final.
Varane said: “It is going to be a very tough game. We are going to have to fight hard to have possession of the ball, press high and have the ambition to win the three points.
“We have to think about getting the basics right.”
Of course Varane has a good knowledge of Villarreal from his ten years with Real, something he has been willing to share with his manager and teammates.
He said: “We have an idea of how they will play and set up. I will share what I know from my time in Spain which is useful. But everyone at United know Villarreal from old.”
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer goes into the game under the usual scrutiny after a poor run of games.
His old team-mate Gary Neville was at it on Sky once more claiming he is under pressure now to deliver silverware this season or next after more backing in the transfer market.
He has also claimed in the wake of United’s 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday that the team under Solskjaer is lacking a clear style of play.
‘NEVILLE’S ALWAYS GOT LOADS TO SAY’
But having been used to Neville’s forthright views as a team-mate as well, Solskjaer was once again happy to handle the flack.
Solskjaer said: “He’s always got loads to say, Gary.
“I’m used to Gary. He’s always said a lot, when I was sat next to him as well in the dressing-room.
“Everyone that has been associated with Man Utd knows that we want to keep the tempo up and attack quickly when we can. Maybe we did it too fast.
“Gary knows the DNA here at the club and what we are trying to do.”
Solskjaer found himself having to defend some individuals in his team as well after three defeats in four games across three different competitions.
Fred and Scott McTominay played as the defensive midfield duo in the defeat against Aston Villa and their combination has brought criticism from some sections of fans.
But Solskjaer is sticking by them.
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He said: “The stats for them two have brought many good results with the energy they give us, the way they break up play.
“They are instrumental together with energy and desire and they are two that I can trust.
“Fans always have opinions when you have good players to pick from and it is hard to leave players out.”