Manchester United had conceded goals in 13 of their last 14 games. There had been 30 behinds in the 14 games. United had lost nine of the matches and won only three. Then Erik ten Hag inserted Raphaël Varane in central defence.
The United manager has now used Varane from the start five times. Result: Five straight victories, two behind goals.
A winning percentage of 21 in the last 14 games from last season has become 100 with Varane starting for Ten Hag this season.
2.14 late goals per game in the aforementioned 14 games has become 0.4 per game now.
It says a lot that the only time the 29-year-old has not been allowed to play in the same period, United lost 0-1 against Real Sociedad.
The progress has also been noticed by France coach Didier Deschamps. On Thursday, the United player got 90 minutes for the first time in around a year – and also the captain’s armband – for France.
France were without a win in their last four international matches, a period dating back to March. They had also not kept a clean sheet since the 5-0 victory against South Africa, then, but with Varane back for 90 minutes, it was both a win and a clean sheet.
By the way, this was Varane’s first international match since June against Denmark. France then led 1-0 when Varane had to go off with an injury after the hour, but without him the Danes turned to victory.
It is well over three years since France last lost a match in which the United player got 90 minutes.
Here you can read more about Thursday’s international matches, more Varane, Eriksen and also the Netherlands.