Antonio Valencia has been discussing his role under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, noting that he was happy with his performances so far this season.
The Ecuadorian has emphatically cemented himself as Mourinho’s first choice right back with a series of powerful, disciplined performances, making 38 appearances in all competitions.
His superb resurgence under the Portuguese was rewarded with an extension on his existing contract earlier on in the season.
And Valencia, speaking to the club’s official website, noted that he was pleased with his progression over the last year or so.
“I’m very happy with the season and the work I’ve put in throughout the season so far,” he said.
“But what we need to remember is that it’s not over yet, there are still games to come and there’s a trophy [the Europa League] at stake at the end of the season. We need to make sure we get our hands on that.
“I love this team and I love this club with a passion, I love being here and I’m very grateful for the support of the fans this season. Also, the manager and my team-mates have shown great faith in me, and that makes me very happy.
“I’m in a good place at the moment, but I need to make sure I keep pushing and performing at the same level until the end of the season.”
Man United fans can take solace from the fact that, for the first time in the post-Fergie era, their ‘Player of the Season’ will be somebody other than David de Gea – an indicator of this side rediscovering some attacking pomp after too many years of ennui.
A number of contenders spring to mind: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of course, has been a monumental presence; Ander Herrera has been the beating heart of this side; Henrikh Mkhitarayan has been seminal when given the chance.
But in terms of sheer drive and constant reliability, even from as far back as pre-season, nobody stands above Valencia. The 31-year-old, somewhat astonishingly, has hardly had a bad game all season, serving as a perpetual attacking threat on the right hand side whilst keeping opponents out at the other end.
Other players may have made more headlines, but Valencia, at least in my view, deserves the praise when the dust settles on this season.