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Casemiro: Gap is closing but we still have work to do to reach Manchester City’s level


Manchester United's Casemiro celebrates scoring. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Manchester United's Casemiro celebrates scoring. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Manchester United's Casemiro celebrates scoring. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

As the winner of five Champions League titles, it is worth noting when Casemiro talks about the strides Manchester United are making and how their progress is even more significant given how settled their rivals have been.

The Premier League has basically been a duopoly in the past five seasons, with Manchester City and Liverpool in a rhythm of winning under Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

United started from scratch in the summer, Erik ten Hag arriving and making radical changes to the first-team and the culture of the club. Casemiro has been part of the turnaround, his £65m (€74m) price raising eyebrows in the summer as the Brazilian had turned 30, yet he has brought the class shown during his decade at Real Madrid.

“When you arrive at a new club, you always dream of making history, especially if we see the greatness of this club,” Casemiro said.

“We know the history. But of course, I was aware of needing some time to adapt and of the rivals having a long-term plan before ours, like Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool, they all have managers that have been there for a while.

“I’m happy with my adaptation here, my team-mates and the staff are really helping me. Also with the English language, it’s been quite hard but I’m really trying to get better. I feel at home here.

“I’m very comfortable at Manchester United, enjoying every moment like a 15-year-old kid! But the most important thing is to see the team growing.”

The Brazilian scored twice in the 3-1 FA Cup win over Reading on Saturday. Former United midfielder Paul Ince was in the Reading technical area and he says Casemiro will be judged on the big games, not against Championship sides. But there is excitement over what he has brought to United and the partnership he has forged with Christian Eriksen, who left Old Trafford on crutches after a tackle by Andy Carroll – the former Liverpool striker who saw red for two other bookable offences.

“Last time I scored twice in the same match was against Sevilla at Bernabeu and we won 2-1,” Casemiro said.

“I’m happy about the Reading game. My main job is to give more balance to the defence, help my team-mates, give more quality to the build-up, but to score is also important and satisfying.

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“We know we’re progressing within a plan, step by step we’re building a well-structured team and this is important. To win titles in the future, you have to build a solid foundation.”

While United are still in four competitions, Casemiro still regards the season as one where the club are building under Ten Hag.

“We are still a club under construction,” he said. “Manchester United is a big club, if we look at the titles it’s the biggest in England. We’re on a good path. This is the way to win titles, but we need to keep growing.”

Eriksen, meanwhile, is expected to have a scan on his ankle to determine how long he will be out for.

Immediately after the match, Ten Hag said that he was concerned for the Danish midfielder but would have to wait before he knows the extent of the problem.

“It’s always difficult to say in this moment so short after the game has finished,” Ten Hag said in his post-match press conference.

“But it’s an ankle (problem). We have to see what is the diagnosis, so it costs us a minimum of 24 hours before we know that and then I can say more.” 

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2023]

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