Evra makes case for defence

Patrice Evra feels Man Utd are stronger defensively this season despite keeping only a fourth clean sheet on Saturday.

Last Updated: 30/12/12 at 13:33 Post Comment   

Patrice Evra in action against West Brom

Patrice Evra in action against West Brom

Patrice Evra has claimed Manchester United have defended better this season than they did last even though they managed only their fourth Premier League clean sheet in Saturday's 2-0 win over West Brom.

Given the Red Devils had 10 shut-outs by the same point last term and are currently only five adrift of the 33 goals they conceded in the entire campaign, it seems an odd thing to say.

Even Evra admits it is bizarre. However, the Frenchman is adamant.

And, even though almost all his team-mates, and most importantly his manager, have expressed concern at the manner of United's defending, he has none.

"The confidence of keeping a clean sheet is good," he said.

"I am a defender. I don't like to concede goals. But I am more bothered about winning games and I know when we have a big game the defence will be strong.

"Maybe it sounds bizarre but I feel we were weaker defensively last year even if this season we have conceded more goals.

"I know sometimes it is about concentration and we can do much better but it does seems the opponent scores every time they shoot. I am not worried about the goals."

For all the doubts expressed about their performances at the back, United evidently have enormous strength at the other end of the field.

Even with Wayne Rooney injured and both Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie rested, United were able to establish a winning position against a West Brom outfit who can name Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea amongst their victims this season.

And when Sir Alex Ferguson's men faltered, Van Persie's contribution from the bench was to score his 17th United goal to wrap up yet another win which ensures they enter 2013 seven points clear of Manchester City.

"Robin is impressive," said Evra. "He reminds me of Ruud van Nistelrooy. He came on and scored that goal. He just has to keep going."

If there is a hidden danger from yesterday's success, it came from a stamina sapping surface, which survived a pitch inspection prior to kick off and, according to Ferguson, left Michael Carrick "running on memory".

It surely means a significant number of changes can be anticipated for Tuesday's visit to Wigan, with the outfield players who have started all United's Festive fixtures so far - Evra, Carrick, Jonny Evans and Antonio Valencia - the most obvious casualties.

"I am lucky to play a lot of games," said Evra, who was starting his 22nd game of the season. "Until I can't run, I will ask to play. I will rest when I retire. That is the name of my game."

In previous years, an encounter with Wigan would be regarded as a comfortable three points no matter what team Ferguson turned out.

All that changed last April when Shaun Maloney scored the only goal to trigger the collapse that eventually saw City crowned champions.

"Tuesday is important," said Evra. "When we lost there last year we didn't show anything. It was a really bad performance.

"This year we don't have any excuses. We know what to expect."

As for West Brom, they can approach a meeting with Fulham in positive mood despite the result.

And, in 19-year-old midfielder George Thorne they have a player of immense promise after being pitched straight in following his impressive loan spell at Peterborough.

"George only came back from Peterborough yesterday and though I had other options, I decided to throw him in," said Baggies boss Steve Clarke.

"He was frustrated because he couldn't get in our team, so we let him go out to get match experience and play competitive games in the Championship.

"We got some great reports on him. I knew he could go in there and play and he did very well."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

e was right to leave, but not just because of the money City were coming into. If I remember rightly he had a reasonable amount of chances to shine at City, but he never passed the bloody ball. Loads of aimless dribbles and 40 yard shots and not much else. I would say that if he had learnt to be a bit more of a team player he may have done better at City.

bright and edgy
Sturridge: Right to leave City

O

h! And.... has it gone in!?' Well John, it is quite literally your job to tell me, so stop phrasing it as a question.

ajsr1982
Eye On The Experts: John Motson

M

an who resembles bond villain complains about spies ....brillliant

mrjackson
Palace deny spying accusation

Footer 365

West Ham's Matt Jarvis thinks he may need to be more clever after Arsenal penalty incident

West Ham's Matt Jarvis says he may have to be "a bit more clever" after staying on his feet despite Bacary Sagna's foul.

Transfer news: Damien Duff already planning for life after Fulham

Damien Duff has confirmed that he will be leaving Fulham this summer and will be going in search of 'something new'.

Premier League: Harry Kane feels youngsters are crucial to Tottenham's cause

Harry Kane believes he and a number of fellow academy graduates are capable of holding down regular roles at Tottenham.

Mail Box

Fatigue No Excuse For Giroud Being Cr*p

We have a long mail on why Giroud isn't very good at all, plus some more thoughts on neutrality. Plus, who do you want out of you club this summer and Liverpool moving buses...

Will Liverpool Cope With Parked Buses?

That's the real problem they're going to face next year, says one Man United fan who's already looking forward to the end of this campaign. Plus, thoughts on neutrality...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property