Despite owning the same point total as last year under David Moyes through this point of the season, things are trending upwards for Manchester United, says star Angel Di Maria.
“From the start of the season to now, you can see that we’ve grown,” Di Maria told the Manchester United official website. “We weren’t so great at the beginning but we’ve started getting a few victories under our belts.”
The adversity faced by the squad this season has been significantly higher than last, which could partially explain the lower than expected point total. Most notably, they have been dogged by a stunningly high amount of injuries, leaving manager Louis van Gaal extremely limited in his team selection.
Still, are they $220 million better? That’s what they spent over the summer to improve, and while the club is three places higher than last season in fourth rather than seventh, the point haul has been the same. But that doesn’t phase Di Maria, a member of the FIFPro Team of the Season announced Monday.
“There are some people saying that we’re not playing in a particularly good style or that it’s not the old Manchester United – but it’s not. We’re beginning something new here. We’ve got a new style, we’ve got a new manager and we’re all working hard to make sure we’re putting Manchester United back where it belongs.”
And while many are pointing towards a return to the Champions League as the ultimate prize for the Red Devils, he says the club has many different goals this season, all still attainable.
“We all know the Premier League is difficult but all we’re focusing on now is meeting our objectives and our targets for the year. So whether it’s qualifying for the Champions League, making sure that we do well in the FA Cup or getting as high in the league as possible, these are things we are going for now.”
So while Manchester United fans may look to the point total and be reminded of painful days of the past, they can also look forward to a serious challenge this season to make it just one year out of Europe’s most important competition. But it’s a precarious position they’re in. Just a point from dropping out of the top four, the club now has no room for error. Fans are hoping Di Maria can be the one to usher them back to the promised land.