Evra backs Fergie to lift United

Evra backs Fergie to lift United

Patrice Evra has complete faith in Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson’s ability to bring in the right players to bolster the Red Devils squad this summer.

Even if those dramatic five minutes’ of injury-time at the Etihad Stadium had not gone against his team yesterday and United had been crowned champions for the 20th time, Ferguson would still have been plotting to improve.

Although many supporters view the enormous wealth available to Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini with a sense of fear, and have brought renewed demands for investment from the Glazer family, Ferguson is merely accepting it as another challenge to be overcome.

The Scot’s presence at the German Cup final in Berlin on Saturday evening looks set not only to be the prelude to an offer for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa, but also firming up interest in striker Robert Lewandowski.

And no matter who eventually arrives at Old Trafford, Evra is certain Ferguson will get it right.

“I am not crazy,” said the France full-back.

“I won’t say that we’ve had a good season or we’ll be okay.

“Every player has to be better next season than we were this year, even if we haven’t been as poor as a lot of people say.

“Fans will want to see a few new players and I trust totally in the boss. He will do the right thing.

“There aren’t many players who can play for Manchester United and I know the boss will make the best decision.”

The real question is how good is this current United squad.

Some believe that, after collecting 89 points – the best achieved by any team finishing second in the Premier League era – there is not a lot wrong taking into account significant injuries to Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher.

Others feel a continued reliance on Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, whose retirement U-turn triggered the surge in form that, only six games from the end of the season looked certain to secure yet another title, is masking clear deficiencies and that the only surprise about this campaign is that United got so close.

Typically, Evra’s glass is half full, accepting that the Red Devils are judged by exacting standards compared to the rest.

“Every year people criticise United. People say we’ve had the worst season ever if we don’t win the league,” he said.

“This is not the truth. The season we’ve just finished has been a miracle. People were saying it was going to be the worst season but we are nine points better off than last year and we’ve scored more goals.

“We only think we’ve failed because we haven’t won.

“Winning is the Manchester United spirit, it’s the Manchester United way. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only got one leg, you have to win.

“If I played for another team then maybe we’d say well done for coming second.”

Yet Evra also noted a problem with attitude at key stages, which is what he puts the most damaging results – against Wigan, Everton and Manchester City – in a four-game April period down to.

“We played those games in the same way we played the group stages of the Champions League,” he said.

“We thought everything would be fine. We were eight points clear, then it was five points, then three. All the time we were saying to ourselves, ’It will be okay: we are Manchester United’.”

But everything was not OK. When the final whistle sounded on the Premier League yesterday, United had finished second, condemned to runners-up spot by the slimmest of margins, triggering a summer of soul-searching amongst their supporters.

And yet again, Evra has been involved more than anyone else, starting every league game other than the first, at West Brom in August.

“I was surprised,” he said.

“It’s a lot of games and a lot of stress on my body, but the only thing I want to do now is play with more quality.

“I am proud to play a lot of games but I’ve put myself in trouble.

“If I start to play fewer people will say I am old and should retire – and I am scared to do that.”

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