Patrice Evra: Critics want Man U to fail
Patrice Evra accepts Manchester United will never get true recognition for its achievements because so many critics want the club to fail.
United is closing in on a record 20th league title, which it can secure Monday following Manchester City's 3-1 defeat at Tottenham.
Victory against Aston Villa at Old Trafford will also set up the Red Devils 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 then 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 its play.
For instance, at the start of the season, when United was continually hauling itself back from losing positions, few looked at the battling qualities shown, preferring instead to concentrate on the leaky defense.
More recently, questions have been asked why the Red Devils have been so lackluster, rather than focus on the 22 points collected from 27 since Gary Neville singled out David de Gea for criticism at Tottenham.
Even after its Champions League exit to Real Madrid -- the hangover from which still appears to be lingering -- United has collected 10 points from five games.
People forget we are a marathon team," Evra said. "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 its best but was 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 teammates happy. I said it because it is the truth."