Raphael Varane will be key for Manchester United tomorrow evening as they host Villarreal at Old Trafford for their second game of the Champions League group stage. United lost their opening clash of the 2021/22 campaign, away at Young Boys, and will be determined to secure their first victory tomorrow.
Varane will know their opponents well, having faced Villarreal innumerable times during his spell in La Liga with Real Madrid. He’s not underestimating Unai Emery’s side – they’re yet to lose a single game so far this season both domestically and in Europe – and also touched on how the pressure at Old Trafford compares to that which he experienced at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“A difficult game awaits us and we’re going to fight to have possession of the ball,” the French centre-back said in comments carried by Marca. “The key will be to not lose the ball in our half under pressure. It will be a game with a real rhythm to it, and we’re on a mission to win this game.
“It’s difficult to compare [the pressure at United and Madrid],” he replied when asked to do so. “The big clubs expect a lot from the players who arrive but I think the pressure is quite similar, the expectations are always at the highest. Both clubs always want to win and a loss or a draw is a negative thing. The pressure to win at United is the same as at Madrid.”
United are certainly under pressure. They recruited heavily during the summer – bringing in Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo as well as Varane – but are yet to fire on all cylinders. As well as losing their European opener they’ve been inconsistent domestically, and currently sit fourth in the Premier League.