Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was full of praise for Casemiro ahead of today’s Europa League group stage clash against Real Sociedad on the road.
Casemiro had a difficult start to his United career as he played second fiddle to Scott McTominay for the number six role. However, he has made the position his own over the past month.
Speaking in yesterday’s late press conference, Ten Hag said that Casemiro is the cement between the stones and he is improving with every game for the club.
He told Manutd.com: “I said it the other day, for me he is the cement between the stones in and out of possession. You see him growing from game to game and with that.”
The Dutchman went on to reveal his first conversation with Casemiro. He said that the Brazilian wanted to join the Red Devils to prove himself, having won everything at Madrid.
The manager added that he has liked Casemiro’s attitude in training from day one and believes the 30-year-old will be ‘more and more important’ for the club going forward.
He added: “He told me when we had the first talk that he needs a new challenge because in Real Madrid he won everything. He was a big part of Real Madrid still, they didn’t want him to go.”
“But he had a feeling, he told me, that ‘I have to go to another club, to another league, to prove myself’ and that shows his hunger. I really liked that and from the first day on, he has been coming with that attitude to every training, to every match, and he proves it.
“I really like it and, like I say, he will be more and more important to our team.”
Casemiro finding his feet at Manchester United
The Brazilian star was widely expected to be a regular starter for United after his big-money move from Madrid, but Ten Hag was reluctant to rush him into his XI.
It was visible from the cameo appearances that Casemiro was struggling to adapt to the pace of the Premier League, but he has turned around his fortunes since the international break.
A poor showing for Scott McTominay in the Manchester derby allowed Casemiro to make his full league debut for United. He has since established himself as the first-choice holding midfielder.
There is room for improvement for Casemiro when it comes to holding onto possession, but he has been winning regular aerial and ground duels to cut out counter-attacks.
Casemiro has a big role to play against Sociedad today. He should be familiar with the Spanish club from his time at Madrid. He has been on the winning side on 10 occasions.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com