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Saturday 2 August 2014

Antonio Valencia: My season has been destroyed by injuries

Simon Stone

Published 19/03/2013|14:48

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Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers - Premier League...MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14:  Antonio Valencia of Manchester United runs with the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford on January 14, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)...S
Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers - Premier League...MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Antonio Valencia of Manchester United runs with the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford on January 14, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)...S

MANCHESTER UNITED winger Antonio Valencia has admitted this season has been a let-down from a personal point of view.

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Valencia won United's player-of-the-year award last term after some outstanding displays for the Red Devils.

However, the South American has struggled for consistency this time around.

The 27-year-old has managed 21 Premier League appearances.

Yet his performances have dipped markedly, a lowering in standards he accepts despite United charging 15 points clear in the title race.

"It's not been quite the season I would have hoped for on a personal front," Valencia told United Review.

"The injuries I've had have held me back a bit and I still get the odd twinge in my leg. That has perhaps affected my progress slightly.

"But I hope I get the chance to be involved in as many games as possible and if I'm picked I'm determined to grab my opportunities and do my best for my team-mates, the manager and the fans."

A Premier League title winner during his second season at United, Valencia looks like picking up yet another medal in May.

It is certainly hard to imagine the Red Devils tossing away their present advantage over the final nine games, even if Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea are still to be faced on the run-in.

Skipper Nemanja Vidic has already pointed out how keen United are to reclaim the championship after last season's agonising last-day drama.

It explains why Sir Alex Ferguson put such pressure on Rio Ferdinand to ignore his unexpected England call.

And Valencia's words merely emphasise that stance.

"The desire amongst the lads to win the league is huge," he said.

"We really couldn't be any more determined. We do not want a repeat of last season.

"Every game is like a cup final for us - we have to fight in every minute of every match.

"We know it's in our hands and we have to make sure we make the advantage we have count."

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