Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has highlighted the reasons behind the club’s massive improvement compared to last season’s performances.

The Red Devils finished sixth in the Premier League table last season with their worst-ever points tally (58). Their performance left a lot to be desired, and they were beaten comprehensively by the likes of Liverpool, Watford, and Brighton & Hove Albion.

However, under Erik ten Hag’s management, United have been exceptional this season. Their performances have exponentially improved, and they have already beaten the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal this season.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Varane explained the reason for this improvement. He said (via Manchester Evening News):

“I think first of all it is the confidence. Secondly, it is discipline. Tactically we know exactly how we want to play, to manage the game. With a little bit more experience and the mentality of competition we have already improved a lot, and that is maybe the difference.”

The Red Devils are third in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders Arsenal, who have a game in hand.

Manchester United have also reached the EFL Cup final and the fifth round of the FA Cup. They will face Barcelona in the second leg of their Round of 32 clash in the UEFA Europa League on February 23.

Speaking about Manchester United’s progress, Varane said:

“I think on the last month we grow a lot. I think we are playing with more confidence and tomorrow the atmosphere will be electric. We have to manage our emotions, be calm and believe. The next aim is to beat teams like Barcelona. It is a real challenge and a good opportunity.”

The first leg at Spotify Camp Nou ended in a 2-2 draw last week.

Manchester United’s crucial upcoming fixtures

Ten Hag’s side face Barcelona in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. They will then travel to Wembley to face Newcastle United in the EFL Cup final on Sunday, February 26.

It is a big opportunity for Manchester United to win their first trophy since the Europa League trophy in 2017.

They will then host West Ham United in the fifth round of the FA Cup on March 1 before facing arch-rivals Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League on March 5.