Raphael Varane has said Manchester United ‘must find balance’ after key midfielder Casemiro was handed marching orders and a four-match domestic suspension against Southampton.
The Brazilian was issued a contentious red card in United’s 0-0 draw with Southampton on Sunday, meaning he will miss the FA Cup match against Fulham this weekend, as well as the key Premier League games against Newcastle United, Brentford, and Everton.
It’s a big blow for Man United given Erik ten Hag’s side are already light on midfield options, with winter recruit Marcel Sabitzer joining long-term absentees Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek in the treatment room.
Just five weeks after his controversial dismissal against Crystal Palace, the 31-year-old looked upset when receiving his second red card in three Premier League games.
Casemiro’s impact has been essential to Manchester United’s turnaround this season, and his ban is a major setback for the club.
However, speaking after the goalless draw with the Saints, Varane said the Red Devils must find a way to cope without the Brazilian enforcer.
Varane said to reporters: “He’s a player who’s very important for us. He brings balance to the team and to the squad. We have a great squad and we have to find another balance without him, but we have good players in every position on the pitch and we’re ready for the next games.
“I think he [Casemiro] was very disappointed because nobody wants to get out of the pitch before the end, but as I say, it’s part of football,” Varane continued. “It was obviously very disappointing but we can focus on the next games and that’s it. “We knew we needed to run a little bit more [as we had 10 men], to be a bit more defensive but we reacted as a team, as a group and with a good mentality. We fight for each other.
“The crowd as well, we feel the support. I think we can be proud of the fighting spirit, obviously disappointed by the result but great teamwork today.”
The red card for Casemiro was a controversial decision, with Ten Hag lamenting the referees’ ‘inconsistencies’ after the game. When asked about his opinions, Varane admitted that the players “can’t be happy” with the decision.
“I think about decisions by the referee, I keep my opinions to myself,” he said. “We can’t be happy with the decision he takes but that’s part of football.”