LONDON – Manchester United defender Raphael Varane expressed confidence ahead of their highly anticipated FA Cup final showdown against Manchester City, stating that they do not fear Erling Haaland, the prolific striker for their rivals.
While acknowledging Haaland’s skills, Varane emphasized that Manchester City’s threat extends beyond the Norwegian hitman, with danger looming from every area of the pitch.
As the Premier League champions, Manchester City are vying for a rare treble this season, with the Champions League final against Inter Milan scheduled for June 10.
However, Manchester United aims to halt their bid for a second trophy with a victory in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
It is worth noting that Manchester United holds the distinction of being the only team to have won the English title, FA Cup, and Champions League in the same season, achieving this remarkable feat in 1999.
Haaland’s remarkable debut season in England saw him score an impressive 52 goals, securing the Premier League Golden Boot with a record-breaking 36 strikes and multiple Player of the Year awards.
Despite Haaland’s impressive form, Varane emphasized that the danger posed by Manchester City stems from their overall team strength.
“Fear? No way … Why?” Varane was quoted by The Telegraph.
“Yes, he is a very good player, we all know that. But the danger from City is everywhere, they are very complete.”
Varane further added that neutralizing Kevin De Bruyne, City’s influential playmaker, would be crucial in stopping Haaland.
De Bruyne concluded the league season with 16 assists, half of which were for Haaland.
“They can score from set-plays, from a possession game, and from a transition game. As a defender, the connection (Haaland has) especially with De Bruyne — that kind of pass is complicated to defend, so we try to cut that connection,” Varane explained.
Recognizing the unpredictability of the game, Varane stressed the importance of maintaining consistency throughout the 90 minutes.
He stated, “We know we can beat them. We have to be consistent for 90 minutes because we know that everything can change in a few seconds.”
United’s defender highlighted the winning mentality that the team is currently developing under the guidance of manager Erik ten Hag, who has already led them to victory in the League Cup this season.
Drawing from his experience during his trophy-laden years at Real Madrid, Varane urged his teammates to stay positive and believe in their abilities.
“We have to be positive, we’re in a good way. But the most important thing is to believe.”
As the FA Cup final approaches, fans eagerly anticipate an enthralling encounter between two fierce rivals, with both Manchester United and Manchester City seeking to add another trophy to their illustrious history.
The clash between the confident Varane and the formidable City squad promises to be a spectacle that will captivate football enthusiasts worldwide.