“It is painful… it makes me very sad” – Antonio Valencia admits he struggles to watch current Manchester United team

Antonio Valencia

Antonio Valencia admits he is not finding it easy to watch Manchester United this season.

The Ecuador international left Old Trafford in the summer, bringing his 10-year spell as a United player to an end.

Valencia won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups and the Europa League between 2009 and 2019.

United's chances of winning the league for the first time since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013 are already over, with league leaders Liverpool 20 points ahead of their arch-rivals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are also nine points adrift of the top four after 13 matches.

And Valencia says it pains him to see how far the club have fallen in the last few years.

“Honestly, I do not watch all of the games now. It is painful for me. I try to watch but it makes me very sad," he told The Athletic.

"I have United in my heart: the city, the fans, 10 years of my life. It is too hard to watch the defeats. I miss being there.”

Thirty of Valencia's 241 Premier League appearances for United came during Ferguson's final title-winning campaign of 2012/13.

And the 34-year-old has recalled what it felt like when the Scot announced his retirement, and explains why United went backwards under Ferguson's hand-picked successor, David Moyes.

“That day, when he told us he was leaving… he was emotional," he added. "We were all emotional. I was really sad. If he had stayed another year, I think we could have won the Champions League or another Premier League. You just knew at the start of a Ferguson season you were going to win something.

“It was different [when Moyes took charge]. Ferguson, he had this way of making every player feel important. Then Moyes came and maybe only a certain group of players felt this importance.”

United are next in action on Thursday when Solskjaer's side face Astana in the Europa League.


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Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).