Marcos Rojo smiles in training.

Rojo explains upturn in confidence

Marcos Rojo has stressed that he is looking to continue his solid form at the back and explained what has spurred Manchester United’s recent surge of confidence.

The Argentinian has overcome the injury problems that affected him last term, when he only made six competitive appearances for the Reds. This year is a different story. Only two months into the 2019/20 campaign, Rojo has already equalled the amount of appearances he made in the previous season.

Speaking to MUTV ahead of Wednesday's Carabao Cup fourth-round tie at Chelsea, the South American outlined just how much it means to him to be back on the pitch.

Marcos Rojo at Old Trafford.
Marcos Rojo is comfortable in any of the defensive systems Ole employs.

“On a personal level, I’m very happy to be playing in the team again and looking forward to playing lots of games again,“ he said. ”Physically, I really good and I’m noticing this when I play. It started with a tough game against Liverpool. We got a good result, perhaps it wasn’t the one we wanted but we got a point and we’ve our last two [games] so I’m really pleased.

“The fans are always supportive. Each time I play and do well, I feel that warmth from them. It’s as if they enjoy seeing me start and that makes me really happy.”

Rojo’s versatility enables him to play at centre-half or full-back and in various formations. This has given manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer more options as injuries have hit United’s backline in recent matches, including the aforementioned match with Liverpool when Rojo was pressed into action after Axel Tuanzebe suffered a hip problem in the warm-up. Understandably, the defender remembers that crucial moment well.

“It’s not ideal finding out at the last minute that you’re going to play, but you always try to be prepared and even more so for the real tough, big games. You need to be focused even if you aren’t in the starting XI and I think I did really well, despite everything that happened.”

United’s defensive system has changed at times this season with Ole opting for either two centre-backs or three. This has changed the way the Reds play and Marcos is no stranger the two set-ups.

“I’ve played in both systems many times throughout my career,“ he explained. ”I feel more protected with three centre-backs in there, covering attacks from the other team, you’re always a bit more organised and, as I always say, the full-backs can attack much more freely and push right on.

“You have more players in attack whilst having cover at the back. I think that’s the difference when you play with three centre-backs. It’s good to use systems and that players can adapt to different formations. That makes a team much stronger and it’s much more useful to the manager when it comes to making decisions.”

Marcos Rojo.
Marcos Rojo believes the performance against Liverpool was key in raising confidence levels.

After the draw against Liverpool, United went on to win our following two away games, at Partizan Belgrade, in the Europa League, and Norwich, in the Premier League. For Rojo, it’s obvious where these positive results stem from.

“After the Liverpool game, I think the team grew in confidence,“ he stated. ”It gave us much more drive and where we went on to get a good result away from home, I think it strengthened our belief and allowed the players to express themselves that bit more, meaning we went back to attacking in the way we usually do.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the Argentinian is ready to achieve targets he has in mind for both he and the team.

“Personally, it would be to play as many games as possible, to continue to be on top of my game, and to show the manager that he can rely on me,“ he said. ”And, from a team perspective, it would be to win the Europa League, to finish as high up the table as we can in the Premier League and to qualify for the Champions League and improve our situation so that next season is much better.”

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