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Man Utd ‘ready’ for challenge of catching Man City – Varane

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Raphael Varane has said Manchester United “have to believe” they can bridge the gap with Manchester City.

City have won five of the last six league titles and finished 14 points ahead of Erik ten Hag’s side last season.

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United have gone 10 years without winning the Premier League but Varane said the battle to topple Pep Guardiola’s champions begins with their own mentality.

“We have to believe,” Varane told ESPN in an exclusive interview on the club’s preseason tour of the United States.

“Sometimes the difference between a good team and a top team is something mental. It’s a new season and everything is possible. [Catching City] is a big challenge but we are ready for it.

“The Premier League is something very difficult to win. The competition, every year, gets better and better. Every team is strong and the level is very high so you have to be ready for that challenge. It will be difficult but we’re ready to fight for every game.”

United finished third last season but there were plenty of positives for Ten Hag to take from his first campaign in English football.

Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea were all beaten at Old Trafford while LaLiga champions Barcelona were also dumped out of the Europa League.

But good results were undermined by a poor away record and some heavy defeats, and Varane said consistency will be key next season.

“I think we showed last season we are able to beat every team in the world,” he said.

“When you look at the season, we need more consistency. We are able to beat any team but it’s difficult because you have to do it every three days. That’s the challenge and the demand.”

Varane will be playing in front of a new goalkeeper next season after United agreed a €55m deal for Andre Onana to replace David de Gea.

Onana has a reputation of being a ball-playing goalkeeper who can help teams build from the back, a style Ten Hag is determined to implement at Old Trafford.

“He [Onana] is coming with his qualities and we will need to build a relationship and build that confidence,” Varane said.

“I think he is very good with the ball, very comfortable. He’ll bring a lot of confidence to the team and to the defence so we’ll see. I’m looking forward to playing with him.”

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