Evra: The Defence Will WinThe League For United
Patrice Evra is sure that United will win the league for the fourth season in a row. He's never been one of the most modest of gentlemen but this a bit rash, even from him, no?
'I am sure we will win the league this year,' he said.
'Tell me another team that would have nine defenders injured like that and still only be one point away from the leaders.'
Good point but the leaders have a game in hand at Hull City so we should say we're four points behind.
'We would definitely be well ahead at the top of the table without these problems.'
Not sure about that although we would surely have more points.
Evra believes the Qatar trip was hugely useful.
'It was a chance to make sure everyone understands we must not throw the league away,' said Evra.
'We talked a lot about tactics and what we needed to achieve until the end of the season. It is a chance to write the story.
'A lot of people talk about Manchester United's attack but if you look back at our last three titles, the real strength is the defence.'
That is true - or at least it used to be true. If we can get Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra and Van der Sar fit on a consistent basis we'll have a really good chance - but Ferdinand's back problem is more and more worrying, Van der Sar is 38 and he had two injuries this season so we can't count upon it.
Evra also added that the Champions League semi-final first leg in Barcelona was our best performance as a unit which is going a bit too far I think. We were compact and disciplined that day, getting a well-earned draw which set us up nicely but that season was littered with wonderful performances, like the 4-0 trouncing of Arsenal or the away win at Roma - or I could say that we were disciplined, compact and dangerous on the break against Barcelona at Old Trafford. That was also a better performance that the catenaccio of the Nou Camp.
But hey, let's hope Evra's optimism is infectious because some of the lads look like they can't believe we're gonna do it again. Their shoulders drop way too often after conceding a goal, that lack of fight and self-belief is a real problem which I hope has been addressed in Qatar.