Casemiro scored twice against Reading in Saturday's FA Cup win against Reading; After the game, he said: "I'm very comfortable at Manchester United, extremely happy to be here and enjoying every moment like a 15-year-old kid!"
Sunday 29 January 2023 14:20, UK
Casemiro says he is enjoying life at Manchester United "like a 15-year-old kid" after his FA Cup double against Reading, and says the club are "on a good path" to winning titles.
It was a Brazilian trio that inspired Erik ten Hag's side in their 3-1 win on Saturday evening. As well as Casemiro's goals, a flick from Fred added the third, while the impressive Antony was named player of the match.
While there may have been some raised eyebrows when Man Utd agreed a £70m deal for the 30-year-old midfielder in the summer, the former Real Madrid man has become instrumental in the club's recent return to form.
Casemiro has also been effervescent in his praise for Man Utd since his arrival, likening his enjoyment to teenage excitement.
"When you arrive at a new club, you always dream of making history... especially if we see the greatness of this club," the Brazil international said. "We know the history.
"But of course, I was aware of needing some time to adapt and of the rivals having a long-term plan before ours, like Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool.
"They all have managers that have been there for a while and, therefore, they have an advantage.
"I'm happy with my adaptation here, my team-mates and the staff are really helping me... also with the English language, it's been quite hard but I'm really trying to get better.
"Everyone here has been lovely with me and since the first day I feel at home here. I appreciate all the effort that the club has done to bring me here, John [Murtough] included.
"I'm very comfortable at Manchester United, extremely happy to be here and enjoying every moment like a 15-year-old kid!
"But the most important is to see the team growing."
United are still fighting on all four fronts and face a Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening, live on Sky Sports.
They already hold a 3-0 aggregate lead from the first leg, aiming to reach the February final at Wembley and win their first trophy since 2017.
"We have to see what the reality is and we are still a club under construction," Casemiro said when it was put to him that his decision to join the club at such a low ebb surprised many.
"Of course we are already respected, the opponents know we're strong, that we have good dynamics, the manager is doing a good job, the players as well.
"Manchester United is a big club... in my opinion, if we look at the titles, it's the biggest in England.
"In our lives we have to have goals and challenges. It was a challenge for me to keep growing and developing in my career.
"The job is on with a lot of humility by knowing there's a lot to improve, but all the players need to be congratulated now.
"We're on a good path. This is the way to win titles, but we need to keep growing.
"We know we're progressing within a plan, step by step we're building a well-structured team and this is important.
"To win titles in the future, you have to build a solid foundation."
Roy Keane described Casemiro as a "huge signing" for Manchester United and the kind of personality the club needed.
"He's been a huge signing," Keane told ITV. "Over the last few years for Man Utd, particularly in the middle of the park, they've lacked a quality player with a big personality, a guy with a bit of presence.
"He's a top-quality player. We see it week in, week out. He affects games.
"Before he came there was this perception he's a sitting midfielder because of working with different players at Real Madrid, players who are more attack-minded," said Keane. "But we're now seeing over the last few months he's got so much quality going forward in terms of the final pass and he's getting goals, as well as being very, very good defensively.
"A huge signing for Man Utd and a big personality, which Man Utd needed."
Club captain Harry Maguire described his team-mate as "a phenomenal player" who has "improved the team, improved the morale, improved the performance", while Ten Hag explained how Casemiro helps United to execute their tactical approach with the ball.
"We know he's a great player," Ten Hag told ITV. "In that midfield in Madrid, with Kroos and Modric, it was great.
"We see offensively he has a part [to play]. What I like is dynamic football with variations, with many position switches. We have to [make] the opponent think so we can take benefit of it."