Erik ten Hag cites tactical reasons for Raphael Varane’s recent exclusion at Manchester United
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Erik ten Hag cites tactical reasons for Raphael Varane’s recent exclusion at Manchester United

Nov 11, 2023

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag says Raphael Varane’s recent omission from the starting XI is down to tactical reasons.

Last season, the Frenchman starred alongside Lisandro Martinez at the heart of the United defence.

Ten Hag has explained why Varane isn't starting for United

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Ten Hag has explained why Varane isn’t starting for UnitedCredit: Getty

However, the 30-year-old’s recent lack of starts has raised questions over his position in the defensive pecking order at Old Trafford.

Varane has been named on the bench in three of United’s last four games, and Ten Hag has now offered an explanation as to why.

Speaking ahead of their home clash against Luton Town, he insisted he has no issue with the centre-back: “Absolutely not.

“As I said, it is about tactical reasons why I chose these partnerships. I think Harry [Maguire] and Jonny [Evans] did well.

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The defender seems to have falling down the pecking order

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The defender seems to have falling down the pecking orderCredit: Getty

“Last year Harry didn’t play a lot, so I was very happy with Rapha’s performances. I have always been happy with his performance.

“But in this moment, Harry is playing very well and there is internal competition.”

During United’s 4-3 Champions League defeat to FC Copenhagen, Varane was brought on for the injured Evans in the first-half.

Ten Hag has suggested that he and Maguire are not the best pairing at the club though despite their combined experience: “There are moments in certain games where they can play together and they have already proven they can do it.

“But the build-up is not that fluid when one of them is playing from the left centre-back position because I think Licha [Lisandro Martinez], obviously, Luke Shaw, obviously, Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof, they are right-footed.

“But they can play really comfortably with their left and make the right angles, then you can construct a better formation where you can start to play.”

Pre-match press conference: Erik ten Hag (Premier League: Manchester United vs. Luton Town)

Varane has started in just eight of United’s 17 matches across all competitions so far this season.

With Evans unavailable for the visit of Luton, he will be hoping to be named in the starting XI and help United regain some form as they sit 8th in the Premier League table.


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