Evra points out derby difference
PATRICE Evra is convinced the big difference between Manchester's warring factions will be in evidence at Eastlands - because Manchester United will be looking to win a trophy, while City are trying to beat the club they loathe. Not since 1981 have the Blues enjoyed the feeling of reaching a major Wembley final. Since Spurs' Ricky Villa famously slalomed his way through the City defence to win the FA Cup, United have competed in 17, which merely confirms a dominance the Red Devils have exerted in a run of almost three decades. There is even a banner hanging from the Stretford End depicting the number of years since City's last trophy in 1976, which ticks on one with each passing season. And it is the mentality that comes from being the superior partner that Evra is sure will see United emerge victorious from the mouthwatering two-legged duel. We know the City people are talking about this game, he said. But we are playing it to go one more step closer to winning the cup, maybe they are playing it to beat us. That is the difference between the two clubs. For us it is not just about beating Manchester City. Yes, it is an important game but Manchester United play a lot of big games. Yet Evra does accept the game will be a special occasion, just as it was at Old Trafford earlier this season when Michael Owen scored the stoppage-time goal that gave United victory in what has gone down as the best derby in history. Whether that assessment of a seven-goal thriller is accurate or not, Evra acknowledges it was a moment of football magic. Evra view Prior to that day, his favourite Old Trafford moments were the Champions League semi-final win over Barcelona in 2008 and the seven-goal rout of Roma a year before. People always ask me what is the best atmosphere I have ever experienced at Old Trafford, he said. Before it was Barcelona and the game against Roma. But when we beat City 4-3 it was crazy. Everyone was on the pitch at the end, the noise was incredible. More importantly, City had been doing well. But when they lost that game against us they started to struggle. If we win this match it might affect them again. Evra is certainly happy to hear all the confident noises emerging from the City camp. While the France full-back is not getting drawn in by them, he hopes some of the City players do, to such an extent that they keep piling forward looking for goals. Evra believes that tactic will play right into United's hands, although Roberto Mancini does not seem quite as committed to the attacking game as Mark Hughes was. Until the Italian was brought crashing back to earth by Everton on Saturday, it appeared he could do little wrong. But Evra knows perceptions can shift quickly in football. Every time it is the same. Now people say Mancini is a great manager because he won the first four games, he said. But if he loses against United, they will say he is the worst. That is the way football is now. It is only talk. For Evra, the proof of greatness is medals. In that sense he is doing very well. Three titles on the trot, a Champions League, two League Cup winners' medals, including last year's shoot-out triumph over Tottenham. And Evra is by no means satisfied. He has standards to keep. Every year I have been at Manchester United I have won two or three trophies, he said. For me now, it is normal. If we don't win the league it will look like I have not done my job properly. I only have the mentality to win, every year. What do you think? Have your say.
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