Evra: Critics want us to fail
Patrice Evra insists Manchester United will never get true recognition for their achievements because so many critics want them to fail.
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United are closing in on a record 20th league title which they can secure on Monday following Manchester City's 3-1 defeat at Tottenham.
33. Patrice Evra
Victory against Aston Villa at Old Trafford will also set them up for a four-match run-in where maximum points would allow them to overhaul Chelsea's record Premier League total of 95 points.
Yet it seems destined to be a championship collected with caveats.
For few think this is one of Sir Alex Ferguson's best teams, let alone the finest since the league was changed in 1992.
It is not something particularly understood within the Red Devils camp - but Evra is not that bothered about it.
"People want to see Manchester United fall down," said the France full-back.
"In the seven years I have been here, it has always been the same.
"When you lose one game it is like the end of the world.
"If you don't accept this pressure, you can't play for Manchester United."
What irritates Evra more is that United's critics prefer to ignore the positive aspects of their play.
For instance, at the start of the season, when they were continually hauling themselves back from losing positions, few looked at the battling qualities shown, preferring instead to concentrate on their leaky defence.
Even after their Champions League exit to Real Madrid, the hangover from which still appears to be lingering, United have collected 10 points from five games.
"It is right," said Evra. "In the beginning of the season, Manchester United was not doing well, we always had to come back.
"But we did keep winning. People forget we are a marathon team.
"The league is not a sprint. People just want to see us playing well in a big game against City, or Liverpool.
"This is not the way to win a league. Of course you want to win against the big teams. But it is about how many games you win.
"I thought 'why are people talking. We are 12 or 15 points clear but they keep saying Manchester United this or that.
"If that is what they want to do, OK. But in the end, if we get to lift the trophy we will see who is right."
It appears Evra had it right 12 months ago.
For in the countdown to the momentous final day of last season, when he thought United's chance had gone, Evra reflected on a campaign in which his team had not been at their best but were able to fail by the narrowest of margins.
"Everyone said City were better than us, that they had played the best football," said Evra.
"I admit we didn't play well. But in the end we finished on the same points.
"In my last interview I said if Manchester United got the consistency back, maybe we can win the league by 10 points.
"For the moment I am wrong. It is 13 points.
"I didn't say it to make the fans, or the staff or my team-mates happy. I said it because it is the truth."
Ferguson has been able to keep regenerating his squad to remain in contention for the major honours.
Planning for next season has already begun with the signing of England Under-21 star Wilfried Zaha, who will join United in the summer.
Last season, in the slipstream of Robin van Persie, came the relatively unheralded capture of Dutch full-back Alexander Buttner, who has provided the competition that allowed Evra to rediscover the form of his early days at Old Trafford.
"Alex is doing well," he said.
"He needs to keep going. He needs to challenge me next year.
"I like the challenge. Maybe it is because he signed that I scored four goals and had six assists.
"It is good to have a challenge."