Erik ten Hag praises Man Utd defender’s performance in Liverpool draw

Erik ten Hag has hailed the performance of Raphael Varane in Manchester United’s hard fought draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

Varane has been sporadically utilised by Ten Hag throughout the 2023/24 campaign so far, with reports even suggesting that the player was keen to leave Man Utd during the upcoming January transfer window.

The veteran defender was drafted back into the starting lineup on Sunday thanks to the ailment suffered by Harry Maguire during the midweek defeat to Bayern Munich, and he thoroughly impressed – racking up 15 clearances and winning 100% of his duals at Anfield.

Speaking to the press after the win, 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.

“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.

Raphael VaraneRaphael Varane

Varane played well / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

“So we should have taken more of the ball regains three or four passes in where we are capable of and then we could have even hurt the opponent even more. But all over in the end, you have to conclude, we had the best chances from open play for Rasmus Hojlund and Alejandro Garnacho.”

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.

“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.”


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