The Brazilian, whose contribution this season has been hindered by injuries, explains why he and the Ecuadorian are so much of a threat to deal with.
Rafael told MUTV:
“To be honest, I think it’s well recognised by everybody that Antonio has been one of my best friends at the club. That’s not to disrespect anyone but I think we have created a very good understanding on the pitch.
“I can feel what he wants to do and vice versa and that is probably the reason why we have so much understanding on the pitch.
“I think it’s quite difficult to define Antonio’s qualities on the pitch. He’s quite fast and direct. He looks for the ball all the time. If I go forward, he covers me at the back and vice versa. It’s easy to work with him and, when I see him on the pitch, it leaves me more relaxed due to the understanding we have on the field.”
Rafael, who partnered Antonio Valencia on the right flank in the Champion’s 4-0 victory against Aston Villa highlighted on his desire to play more and also improve. He said:
“Of course in a league like the Premier League, it’s important I play as many matches as possible. Although I wanted to play more, every match I play in I am keen to play even better. A player wants to play as many matches as possible and I want to play even more.
“I think the reason (behind recent form) is I’m probably getting a bit older and more mature. I see things in a different perspective. My aim is always to help the team, especially this season, to achieve the title we are after. So it’s probably due to being a bit more mature.
“I think, having been part of the last three seasons when we were two times champions and once not, I think that helps us and me particularly as I know what to expect in the last few matches. The experience I’ve acquired in the past will help me to deal with these last few games until the end of the league and it helps us to deal better with the wins, losses and any disappointments.”