November 29, 2020

Ethic helped us to the top

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PATRICE Evra believes Manchester United’s team ethic has allowed them to join Manchester City at the summit of the Premier League despite a debilitating injury crisis.

By the end of its 5-0 home win over Wigan Athletic on Monday, United had 11 players carrying injuries and ended the game with Michael Carrick joining Evra in central defence, Antonio Valencia at full back and Wayne Rooney in central midfield.

Of those who missed the visit of Wigan, Alex Ferguson has highest hopes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling recovering from illness in time for their next fixture, at home to Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve.

United has not put a timescale on Rio Ferdinand’s absence with a back injury, while Jonny Evans looks set to miss a couple of weeks with the calf injury that forced him off at half-time during the latest victory.

Such a severe catalogue of injuries provides an unlikely recipe for United’s recent run of good form, which has helped it to win eight of its past nine league games, taking it level on points with City, which now tops the table only on goal difference.

Evra, though, claims that adversity has helped to bring the best out of United, with the defender citing the collective spirit as a key factor in the resurgence.

“This is the United spirit,” Evra said. “You can play everywhere (any position) — if you want to win, you have to accept it. You see Antonio Valencia playing right back as well. Only because United play like a team. The team is the star, not only one player, that’s why you can put me and Michael Carrick at centre back; we’re going to win because it’s the team effort and team spirit.

“I’ve said that from the beginning, in six years playing here, the Man United spirit — no one team has got that spirit. This is why I’m so proud to play here.

“What the fans expect of every player, we are doing now. That’s why I’m very pleased.

“Nothing is easy; it’s because we’re working hard.

“That’s why we have to keep going with this momentum and trust each other, because it’s a big squad and everyone wants to show they deserve to play. If we win and score goals and keep many clean sheets, like we did against Wigan, we’re going to be at the top of the league at the end of the season.”

Evra accepts, though, that United needs as many of its injured players as possible to return to fitness if it is to match City’s exploits and he is hoping to see a stronger line-up when it faces Blackburn on Saturday.

“I am a little bit worried because we need everyone if we are going to win the league,” the France defender said. “It is starting to get annoying.”


Monday, 26 December 2011

Barclays Premier League

Bolton 0-2 Newcastle

Chelsea 1-1 Fulham

Liverpool 1-1 Blackburn

Man Utd 5-0 Wigan

Stoke 0-0 Aston Villa

Sunderland 1-1 Everton

West Brom 0-0 Man City

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Barclays Premier League

Arsenal 1-1 Wolverhampton

Norwich 0-2 Tottenham

Swansea 1-1 QPR

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