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´I´m worried about English football´ – Evra

Patrice Evra says English clubs struggle in Europe due to a lack of tactical sophistication and claims he was not worried when Juventus faced Manchester City in the Champions League.

The French full-back spent eight years in England with Manchester United, winning the Champions League and reaching the final twice.

He left Old Trafford for Juve in July 2014, winning Serie A in his first season and appearing in another European final, losing the tournament’s decider to personal nemeses Barcelona for the third time in his career.

After strong continental showings between 2005 and 2011, Premier League clubs have struggled to make an impact in recent years.

And Evra has told the Sunday Times he believes English teams are not preparing thoroughly enough to be successful in the Champions League.

“I’m a little bit worried about English football,” he said.
“Why? In Europe, being fast, being strong, playing only with your quality, you are going to struggle against teams that prepare. That is where England has to work, it is about tactics. But it is not easy, because the players won’t accept it.

“When Juventus played Manchester City … I was not worried,” he added, referring to a clash the Italian side won 2-1 at the Eithad Stadium in September.

The 34-year-old also claimed he was surprised to discover how strategic the approach to winning is in Italy, something he feels could have been of benefit to United even as they collected an extraordinary haul of silverware under former manager Alex Ferguson.

“I learnt a lot about a way to be more professional – even if I was already a massive professional in Manchester,” he said.

“I was sometimes thinking, ‘You win a lot of trophies for Manchester but you could have done much more if you had known the Italian way to play.’

“The Premier League is like two boxers fighting. The one who is least strong gets tired, he goes down. Here it is like a chess game and you have to understand every move before you play with your quality, your strength, your skill. That’s the difference.”

Sun 1 Nov, 2015
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