Sunday, September 24, 2023

Evra savouring life in the fast lane with Manchester United

Patrice Evra is relishing life in the fast lane with Manchester United and the France defender is determined not to let his side's Champions League bid get shunted off the road.

United face Chelsea in the Champions League final in Moscow next Wednesday and Evra, who turns 27 on Thursday, is already gearing up for his second appearance in Europe's showpiece game.

The Senegalese-born defender played in the 2004 final with Monaco, but the French club were surprise finalists and never threatened to test Porto in a forgettable 3-0 defeat.

Now Evra believes he has the perfect chance to make amends with a far more formidable United team fresh from retaining the English championship.

“My last final holds bad memories for me. But I joke that I went to the final with Monaco in a Fiat now I am going with the Ferrari. But now I need to drive the Ferrari very well,” Evra said.

“This is the biggest game in my life now and I do not want to lose again.

“When I first joined Manchester United I said I didn't want to just go to a Champions League final I wanted to go and win it. That is what I intend to do.

“We have got stronger, we have more experience and the defence was better than last year. These are the keys to winning the title again and that is why we have won it.”

Evra initially struggled to settle in Manchester after his move from Monaco in January 2006. He found it hard to adjust to English life, the pace of Premier League football and the irregular kick-off times.

Eating pasta for breakfast before one midday match made him throw up but the shock of being left out of France's World Cup squad due to his poor form forced Evra to raise his game.

“It was not the same as living in Monte Carlo that's for sure,” he said. “I needed to take the step but it was very difficult for me and my family, then I missed the World Cup with France. I was very angry with myself.”

Although he is more comfortable at Old Trafford now, he only has one year remaining on his current contract and is waiting to hear if United will offer him a satisfactory extension.

“My agent is speaking to the club,” he said. “There has been one meeting and there has been nothing since. I have one year left, so the ball is in Manchester United's court.

“My job was to concentrate on winning the title and I have done it. Now my job is to concentrate on winning the Champions League. Let's see what happens after that.”


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