Even though Erik ten Hag calls thoughts of Manchester United challenging for the title “ridiculous,” Raphael Varane says, “everything is possible.”
Despite the Red Devils’ 2-1 victory against Manchester City on derby day at Old Trafford, its coach, the Dutchman, was quick to dispel talk of a title run, saying that his team still had “gaps” despite winning nine in a row across all competitions. United are nine points behind leaders Arsenal with 20 games remaining, but Varane, a World Cup and Champions League winner, thinks anything is possible.
The French national team defender told the press, “Everything is possible. 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. We know how difficult it is. But we’re solid, we’re strong. We just need to use the quality players with the ball.”
United made a statement with their victory over City, with Ten Hag’s team coming back from a goal down to earn all three points in a remarkable, if not relatively uncontroversial fashion. About their victory over the defending champions, Varane said, “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.”
United’s schedule remains packed with challenging matches, including a trip to Crystal Palace on Wednesday and a Premier League match against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Sunday. After that, they will play Reading in the FA Cup fourth round and Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.