Rafael has insisted the players should shoulder the blame for United’s abysmal showing last season and that him and his team-mates are the only figures responsible for United’s worst season since 1989-90, as United finished seventh and missed out on European football altogether for the first time in over two decades.
The Brazilian right-back was a regular under David Moyes, before an injury picked up in March sidelined him for the remainder of the campaign, as Ryan Giggs replaced the sacked Moyes for the last four games, trying to inject some momentum in a squad that had looked shambolic for the previous nine months.
Having progressed to become one of United’s most reliable players in throughout the 2012-13 season as United clinched their 20th league title, Rafael regressed last season and he admitted the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson was a tough blow to take for the team.
“The year was not normal. I had been there for six years, I was a champion three times, runners-up twice,” Rafael told Brazilian TV Globo Esporte.
“I think this is football, we changed manager after 26 years and that affects any team. Each manager has his own style.
“The players are to blame too, the things changed off the field, now we have to try again next season.”
With Louis Van Gaal set to take over after the World Cup in Brazil, United are bracing themselves for what should be a momentous summer for the club, with a lot of players rumoured to be leaving Old Trafford, while others could be on their way in as the Dutch manager will look to strengthen his new squad.
Rafael explained the former Ajax, Barcelona, AZ and Bayern Munich manager’s reputation has preceded him at Old Trafford, particularly thanks to a series of glowing reports from Robin Van Persie.
“Van Persie said many good things about him especially when his name was being linked to the club,” said the Brazilian right-back.
“I heard a lot when he was at Barcelona and Bayern too. Now we have to wait.”