Our team spirit will win us the title, says United star Evra
Manchester United defender Patrice Evra believes only the Barclays Premier League champions have the necessary fighting spirit to win the title this year.
The France left back played a starring role in United”s 5-0 demolition of Wigan on Boxing Day that saw Sir Alex Ferguson”s team draw level with local rivals Manchester City at the top of the table.
Jumping to the top: Patrice Evra congratulates Dimitar Berbatov during the 5-0 win over Wigan on Boxing Day
United will go clear if they can avoid defeat against Blackburn at Old Trafford on Saturday, as City do not play until the following day.
Ferguson”s side have taken 25 points out of 27 since losing 6-1 at home to City on October 23. Their recovery from that dark day has been all the more remarkable given an injury list that saw them start Monday”s game without 11 first team regulars.
Evra said: “I”ve said this from the beginning – in six years playing here – the United spirit is always there. No other team have got that spirit. This is United. This is why I”m so proud to play here.”
United won on Monday with Michael Carrick playing at centre back and Evra was playing alongside him after a half-time injury to Jonny Evans.
“This is the United spirit,” stressed Evra. “You can play everywhere for the team. If you want to win, you have to accept it. You can see Antonio Valencia playing right back as well. Only because United play like a team is this possible. The team is the star, not only one player.
“That”s why you can put me and Michael Carrick at centre back. We”re going to win because it”s the team effort and team spirit. That”s why I”m confident about the future. It was a big disappointment when we went out early in the Champions League. But I think it was a wake up call because maybe everyone looked at themselves in the mirror and said, “We can do much better”.
Leader of the gang: Evra insists the team spirit at Old Trafford gives Manchester United the edge over their rivals
“What the fans expect of every player, we are doing now. That”s why I”m very pleased. Nothing is easy. It”s because we”re working hard. If we stop working hard and think only with the United name, everything is going to be wrong.
“That”s why we have to keep going with this momentum and trust each other because it”s a big squad and everyone wants to show they deserve to play.
“If we win and score goals and keep many clean sheets, like we did against Wigan, we”re going to be at the top of the league at the end of the season.”
Under pressure: Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart admits the title race is a stressful challenge
At City, coach Roberto Mancini and his players are preparing for a trip to Sunderland on New Year”s Day knowing that the pressure will be on if United have leapfrogged them at the top.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart said: “Of course it”s disappointing. West Brom set out for a point on Boxing Day and got it. We need to be winning these games but we haven”t and we move on.
“Let people make a lot of what they want. We”re top of the league, still playing well, still creating chances. We”re the team to beat and we”re enjoying that.
“It”s not always going to be as easy as we”ve made it look. Of course we feel the pressure. You have to earn this title. It”s hard work.”