Things can only get better, right? Manchester United have been a mixed bag following the start of the 2023/24 Premier League season. Two wins and two defeats from four matches. That is not the sort of form that will take us back to the days of competing for the league titles.
Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia believes it is only a matter of time before the current team clicks under Erik ten Hag.
It could be fair to say United overachieved last season — finishing third in the league and winning the Carabao Cup — but Ten Hag did some fantastic work at TPP in his debut campaign and writing him off this early would be daft.
We must remember that United are adopting a fresh approach after the summer transfers with Andre Onana replacing David de Gea as well as the arrivals of Mason Mount and Rasmus Hojlund.
The teething problems have been clear to see, too. United enjoyed wins against Wolves and Nottingham Forest but endured unhappy trips to north London against Tottenham and Arsenal. United’s away form is definitely something Ten Hag needs to improve from last season.
Brighton come to Old Trafford after the international break, this Saturday, and Antonio Valencia believes United will soon start climbing up the Premier League table.
“Well, the league just started,” Valencia told club media. “We’re only four games in.
“So the new players that just arrived are getting adapted and acclimated to a new system. Sometimes, that can be complicated. For some players, it’s harder, but I hope they can get adapted as soon as possible for the good of the team.
“There are many competitions, but I’m convinced that the team will respond well because we have a lot of great players. They’ve already shown that in the past. So I don’t think there will be any problems. Hopefully, we can win the Premier League this year and I hope we don’t lose too much ground on Manchester City or any of the other clubs at the top of the table.
“We have play as equals against everybody and try to gain an advantage.”
Valencia is also looking forward to watching United back competing in Europe’s most prestigious competition. The former right winger, who became a full-back later in his career, added: “Well, this is a team that always should be playing the Champions League because it’s a big club with history,” he said. “Manchester [United] have won this tournament many times.
“So it’s a team that has to compete against the best. We have a difficult group, but we know that team has to prepare well, concentrate for these games and advance from the group stage. I think that has to be the goal.”