Raphael Varane has admitted Manchester United’s players are dreaming of fighting Arsenal and Manchester City for the Premier League title as he saluted the “amazing” vibe around Old Trafford. United are on a five-game winning run in the league and have lost just once since being thrashed 6-3 by City in October.
United defeated their neighbours 2-1 on Saturday to move just a point behind the reigning champions. Arsenal responded on Sunday by winning the north London derby 2-0 away at Tottenham, moving them eight points clear of City and nine ahead of the Red Devils.
But such is the confidence of Erik ten Hag’s side, World Cup winner Varane – who also has five Champion League titles to his name – feels “everything is possible” for United this term. He added: “We’ll just take it game by game. It’s a long way to go and it’s very difficult.
“The intensity of every game is incredible, the physical effort. It’s like the same intensity of a big Champions League game, every game. The rhythm is very high. The players are very well prepared, physically.
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“We know how difficult it is. But we’re solid, we’re strong. We just need to use the quality players with the ball.” Varane hailed the atmosphere around Old Trafford after United’s comeback win over City, saying: “After the first goal, we didn’t let our heads drop, even though we conceded a goal at home.
“But we also knew that we had the energy of the fans. We continued to follow our plan. Then we scored and that changed the whole game. Old Trafford is a stadium with a magnificent atmosphere. It’s amazing. At the end I felt a connection with the fans. We really want to win and to do that against a big rival, in our home. We live stronger with this. It was beautiful.”
Luke Shaw, Varane’s centre-back partner against City, similarly believes the sky is the limit for United this season. With the Carabao Cup semi-finals coming up as well as a winnable FA Cup fourth-round tie and a Europa League clash with Barcelona, Shaw wants Ten Hag’s team to aim for glory on all four fronts.
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“We’re still in four competitions,” said Shaw. “We’re Manchester United, we have to aim to win every competition we’re in. Of course we want to win all four of them. But whether that happens or not is down to us, it’s down to the way we act, the way we rest and get ready for the next game. Right now, as a team, we have to make sure we have the right consistency in performances and results.
“It’s always about winning. If you play well or not, you need to be winning, and recently we’ve been doing that. Now we have to forget about this game, forget about this win, because we have a massive game on Wednesday now against Crystal Palace.”
Shaw also hailed the atmosphere of the City win and continued: “I’ve been here a long time, I think eight years, and the atmosphere was the best I’ve been involved in. It shows the fans are with us, they’re pushing us in the right direction and I hope they really enjoyed it.”
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