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Raphaël Varane revelled in Manchester United’s victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford on Monday after Erik ten Hag dropped his captain, Harry Maguire, to give the Frenchman a first start of the season.

United were unrecognisable from the side that lost the opening two matches, particularly the one humiliated 4-0 at Brentford in the previous game. The manager’s two major selection decisions paid off: to choose Varane and pick Anthony Elanga ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ten Hag also replaced Luke Shaw with Tyrell Malacia and brought in Scott McTominay for Fred.

Varane said: “I really enjoyed it on the pitch – the atmosphere, the spirit of the team. I came to England to feel these emotions after everything I left in Madrid and this feeling was amazing, absolutely amazing. The crowd, the fans and the fight on the pitch.

“Football, it’s about energy, it’s about when you have to push, when you have to stay calm, when you have to attack. We show a great control. It was a mature performance.”

Varane partnered the summer arrival Lisandro Martínez admirably in central defence. “He brings to the team his determination, motivation and he has this mentality, this fighting spirit,” Varane said. “He showed it.”

Varane admitted frustration regarding last year’s injury-blighted campaign. “I feel very good. I was ready for the start of the season but I didn’t start so I had more time to keep building the fitness,” he said. “I have demonstrated in the past what I can do when I’m fit, so that’s my focus for this season. I really want to help the team. Some moments in the last season were frustrating. I know I need to be fit to enjoy.”

Varane will be joined by his former Real teammate Casimiro once the midfielder’s visa is granted. “I know perfectly his quality,” he said. “He can bring this balance to the team and his mentality. He’s a warrior, so I think he will really enjoy English football.”

The 30-year-old was unveiled before kick-off. “It was a perfect night for him to meet Old Trafford because the atmosphere was absolutely amazing, and he brings a victory,” said Varane.