03/06/2012 10:40, Report by Adam Marshall & Dan James
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Archives: Laurent Blanc

Will having him behind you help you settle?
It will help a lot to have Fabien playing behind me because I understand how he plays and Fabien understands how I play. But it isn't just about Fabien Barthez and Laurent Blanc, it's about all the players at the back. We need a good atmosphere and an affinity. I need to settle quickly and build an understanding with the other defenders. The main thing is to be compact.

How will you settle into the English game?
There are differences between here and the continent. The English game is quite individualistic - it is slightly more direct than in Italy and Spain. I'm looking forward to finding out in more detail.

Has the manager spoken to you about what he wants you to bring to the team?
Yes, we spoke briefly and he said he just wants me to help the defenders operate more efficiently. He's told me that we have a lot of young defenders - he didn't mean me [laughs] - and that he wants me to help them build an understanding. I hope I can bring my experience to them.

People have criticised the defence this season. Are you confident you can help them settle?
People are criticising the defence because they are conceding goals but it is up to the whole team to stop the opposition scoring. If you are letting in goals, you don't have to blame the goalkeeper or defenders because everybody is part of the team and has to help. When a defence plays with confidence, they are very strong. When they don't play with confidence, they let in goals. It's nothing to do with age, everyone has something to say and something to give. If each defender can bring a bit of confidence to the team, then we can build big confidence in each other.

The papers have mentioned your age, are you confident you can still perform well for United?
You get used to it. When I went to Italy, to Inter, people were mentioning my age but, after three months, everybody had stopped talking about it. People were questioning my age because Bergomi had retired the season before and I was only a little younger than him. But I showed straight away that I could still play well and they didn't talk about it any more. I don't think it matters what age you are, the truth comes in what you do out on the pitch.

Do you wish you could have come here earlier?
I was very close to coming here on those previous occasions, at least four or five times over the last seven years. What I'd like to

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