Relieved Jonny Evans was 'devastated' just before goal for Manchester United against Braga

 

Jonny Evans thought he had blown his chance of extending his Manchester United goalscoring streak at Old Trafford last night.

After taking 119 matches to net his first United goal against Wolves last season, the Northern Ireland defender was not expecting to get another in any great hurry.

However, he scored at Newcastle just before the international break and in grabbing the second in United's 3-2 Champions League win over Braga, Evans has now scored two in three games, a better return over the same period than Robin van Persie.

Yet, instead of the plaudits, Evans came close to taking the brickbats.

For when Van Persie's second-half corner was flicked on by Michael Carrick, despite the ball dropping perfectly for the 25-year-old, he could only take a fresh air swipe at it.

Only after Braga made a hash of trying to clear it did the opportunity come back a second time. And even then Evans could not be certain whether he got the final touch.

"I was devastated when I miskicked it but I turned around and managed to get a bit of a toe on it," he said.

"I didn't know how it went in and thought it might have been an own goal or something but I've come in, seen it back on TV and know I got a touch on it."

It could have been three successive games but for another failed opportunity against Stoke.

Still, Evans is now nudging his way up the United scoring charts, overtaking fellow defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, who are both due back after injury in a fortnight.

Their combined rivalry is a secondary issue though at the side of stopping the repeated problem of conceding the first goal.

It happened again last night - the eighth time in 12 matches - the only difference on this occasion being United conceded another before mounting their thrilling fightback.

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he does not know exactly what to do about it, which leaves Evans with little hope of finding a solution.

"It's happened quite a lot," he said.

"It is becoming a bit of a habit but it's something we have to eradicate as we don't want to give ourselves that kind of deficit at the start of games.

"We need to get better starts in the future."

Victory in the return with Braga in a fortnight would secure United's passage into the knockout stages with two games to spare.

Even a draw should be enough barring a bizarre sequence of results that would require Galatasaray beat Cluj in Romania and both sides then winning their final two games.

It would represent a big improvement on last term's disastrous group stage exit, and also allow Ferguson the opportunity to rest key players for important Premier League games.

Yet everyone at United is aware such a position would be irrelevant should they not scoop an adequate return from the Premier League fixtures against Chelsea and Arsenal, which are now the most pressing issue.

Already four points adrift of Roberto Di Matteo's side, defeat for the Red Devils is out of the question.

Although they did emerge victorious in a Champions League quarter-final two seasons ago, United have not managed a league triumph at Stamford Bridge since 2002.

And for all the disappointment at Chelsea's surprise defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk last night, Evans knows nothing will come easily to the Old Trafford outfit.

"We have had some great battles with them down the years, but they have changed quite a lot very quickly," said Evans.

"You can see that from the way they have been scoring their goals this season.

"They scored four again at the weekend so it's going to be a tough game and our record down there has not been great over the last few seasons, so that makes it a bit harder still."

PA

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?