Man Utd defender’s performance in Liverpool draw earns praise from Erik ten Hag

Manchester United’s hard-fought draw with Liverpool on Sunday was, in part, thanks to the stellar performance of Raphael Varane, who has been sporadically utilized by manager Erik ten Hag this season. There were even reports suggesting Varane was keen to leave Man Utd in the upcoming January transfer window.

On Sunday, Varane was drafted back into the starting lineup due to an injury suffered by Harry Maguire, and managed to impress by racking up 15 clearances and winning 100% of his duels at Anfield. Speaking to the press after the match, Ten Hag was keen to single out Varane for praise, saying: “We know what he [Varane] is capable of, he has many such performances and I think he did very well as the whole team in the partnership with Jonny Evans.”

The manager also praised the team for their discipline in the match, saying they led the team from the back, mentioning goalkeeper Andre Onana as well. “Both led the team from the back, also Andre Onana played a big part in it but I can mention all the players because it was a really good team, very disciplined.”

While Ten Hag’s tactics drew notable ire from Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk after the game, the manager himself was pleased his game plan worked at Anfield. “How pleased was I with the performance? In a lot of respects, yeah, absolutely. The performances were very good from the side. I think [on] the game plan, the players were brilliant in how they were together and they stuck together, how they were fighting,” said Ten Hag.

However, the manager did admit that there was room for improvement, particularly in possession. “Maybe the only criticism would be in possession – we could have hurt them more. We get one, two, three passes and we are in. But that was the only thing. We could have scored one of the two big opportunities and even won the game, but I think we defended very well.”

The drawn match has left Man Utd in 8th place in the Premier League table, below Liverpool by one point. However, this performance could be a turning point for the Red Devils as they look to climb higher in the league. This result was particularly impressive given that Bayern Munich defeated Man Utd during the midweek.

Despite the challenges faced earlier in the season, it seems that manager Erik ten Hag has found a formula that works, with both Varane and the team starting to show the potential that led them to be a dominant force in previous seasons. As they head into the festive period and beyond, Man Utd will be looking to build on this performance and maintain their momentum.

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