Manchester United’s Patrice Evra said he believed last season’s Champions League loss to Bayern Munich motivated his side to beat Chelsea.
The English Premier League leaders accounted for domestic rivals Chelsea 3-1 on aggregate following a 2-1 win in Tuesday’s quarter-final second leg, to advance to the final four of Europe’s premier football competition.
It was a result far removed from United’s calamitous showing at the same stage of the competition last term.
The Old Trafford outfit were 3-0 up in the second leg of their tie against Bayern and seemingly cruising through to the next round before an Arjen Robben-inspired comeback proved their undoing.
The tie ended in a 4-4 draw, with Bayern progressing courtesy of the away goals rule.
Evra knows his team threw away a semi-final berth on that occasion and was determined not to repeat the mistake a second time.
“We didn’t want to miss the same opportunity we missed last year,” Evra said.
“I remember when we were winning 3-0 against Bayern, no one was thinking that Man U were going to be out of the Champions League. Now though, I feel we have the hunger and a lot of experience and I think the spirit was the most important (factor).”
Veteran Ryan Giggs paid tribute to United’s opponents but felt his team were worthy winners over the course of the two legs.
“We might of had a little bit of luck over the two games but I think with our performances we fully deserve to go through,” Giggs said.
“Chelsea are a very good team but I felt that in both games we played really well.”
Centre-back Rio Ferdinand echoed his teammate’s sentiments.
“I have full confidence in our squad and I think a lot of people expected us to maybe sit back and wait for them to attack us,” Ferdinand said.
“But we went out there and did what the manager asked of us, which was to be on the front foot, and I thought we controlled most of the game.”
United’s latest victory means the team remain in contention to emulate their historic achievement in 1999, when they won a treble of trophies including the domestic title, FA Cup and Champions League.
“We never say we have to win the treble, we just say we have to win the last 10 games,” Evra said.
“Every game we have to win, every game is like a final and of course if we win the treble I will be the most happy man in the world.”
“It’s true we didn’t put that pressure on us, we just want to win every game, every game is a final.”
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