Soccer-Haaland holds no fear for Man Utd, says Varane

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - October 2, 2022 Manchester United's Raphael Varane in action with Manchester City's Erling Braut Haaland REUTERS/Phil Noble

(Reuters) - Manchester United defender Raphael Varane said they do not fear Erling Haaland ahead of their FA Cup final showdown against Manchester City but acknowledged that their rivals pose a threat from every area of the pitch.

United go into Saturday's final looking to end the Premier League champions' bid for a second trophy this season, with Pep Guardiola's side in the hunt for a rare treble with a Champions League final against Inter Milan to come on June 10.

The only team to have won the English title, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season are United, who achieved the feat in 1999.

Haaland has scored 52 goals in his debut season in England, winning the Premier League Golden Boot with a record 36 strikes en route to multiple Player of the Year awards.

Varane said there was more to City than the Norwegian hitman.

"Fear? No way ... Why?" he told The Telegraph. "Yes, he is a very good player, we all know that. But the danger from City is everywhere, they are very complete."

Varane said nullifying playmaker Kevin De Bruyne would be key to stopping Haaland. De Bruyne finished the league season with 16 assists, half of which were for Haaland.

"They can score from set-plays, from a possession game and from a transition game. As a defender, the connection (Haaland has) especially with De Bruyne - that kind of pass is complicated to defend, so we try to cut that connection.

"We know we can beat them. We have to be consistent for 90 minutes because we know that everything can change in a few seconds."

Erik ten Hag's side are looking to end their season on a high note having won the League Cup and Varane - who spent 10 trophy-laden years at Real Madrid - said United are developing a winning mentality again.

"We have to be positive, we're in a good way. But the most important thing is to believe."

(This story has been refiled to fix a typo in paragraph 3)

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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