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May 16, 2012

Evra 'proud' after tough season

Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has spoken of his pride after what he feels has been the most difficult season of his career.

As well as the infamous Luis Suarez affair and losing the Premier League title race to Manchester City in the final seconds of the season, Evra also had to come to terms with the death of his 42-year-old brother.

"What's happened to me this year, personal things, have been really tough,'' Evra told BBC Radio Manchester. "I know people will think I'm only saying this because we've lost the title but this is the most difficult season I've ever had for Manchester United.

"Before the game against Manchester City in October my dad called to tell me I'd just lost my brother. Nothing can be more difficult than that to find out before a big game. When you add the Suarez case as well, I am very proud of myself.

"I've been stronger mentally than ever before. To keep going and to play every game is just amazing. I know that's not the way a Manchester United player should talk when you don't win the league. It sounds like I'm finding an excuse. But it's the truth.

"I don't want to lie to people. This year has been so difficult. Sometimes bad things can happen to you in your life, but you need to keep a cool head and be strong.

"In your life you have good and bad experiences but the most important thing is how you react, and I think I reacted in a good way. That's why I'm proud of myself.''

Evra was also asked about the Suarez incident, and the way he celebrated when United beat Liverpool in their first meeting after the racism case hit the headlines.

"The whole thing was so difficult,'' he said. "People thought my celebration at the end of the Liverpool game was because Suarez had abused me, but it was more than that. I wanted say thanks to my team-mates. I know everybody was playing to win for Manchester United, but it was also a little bit for me.

"That game was the most pressure I've ever felt in my life - and all to do with shaking his hand. It was very difficult to decide what to do before the game. Many people would never try to shake his hand. But I tried and he refused. For me, it was like, 'What's going on?'"

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