Manchester United centre-back Jonny Evans is refusing to get carried away after helping the side keep three clean-sheets in a row, admitting that they mustn’t get carried away as they look to get their season back on track after an indifferent start.
Evans partnered Chris Smalling at the back during Wednesday night’s 2-0 League Cup quarter-final win over Stoke, which saw the Northern Irishman start his fourth match in a row as manager David Moyes shows faith in the 25-year-old.
Speaking following the win, Evans admitted that it is always a rewarding feeling when United manage to keep their rivals goalless, and that they are still learning with each game as to how to play the opposition following a tricky transitional period between Sir Alex Ferguson and Moyes.
“Yeah, it’s always a bonus when you win and get a clean sheet,” said Evans. “The manager wants us to defend well and he sets us out really well, every game we are working out how to play against the opposition so we’re pleased to get a run of clean sheets.”
But having helped United record three straight wins, Evans is refusing to take his place in the first team as a given.
"No, I haven’t been given that feeling by the manager,” he continued. “It’s only four games in a row I’ve played now and there have been some injuries. It’s been the same scenario over the past couple of seasons. I’ve had a run of games then got injured.
“You can’t look too far ahead. You have just got to keep playing as well as you can play, hopefully every remains injury-free, and then you give the manager a selection dilemma.”
United saw the semi-final draw for the League Cup pit them against Sunderland after they conquered Chelsea on Tuesday night, and the prospect of an all-Manchester final remains a possibility after Manchester City were drawn against West Ham in the other half of the draw.
But Evans knows that they cannot take the Black Cats lightly having spent two spells on loan on Wearside, and that a March 4 Wembley encounter with their fierce rivals is far from a given.
“I had two loans spells there and I loved my time at Sunderland,” admitted Evans. “In my first season there we won the Championship with Roy Keane as manager and then the next season I went back there and we managed to stay in the Premier League which was a good achievement at the time.
“It gave me a good platform to return to United and fight for a first teams spot. I was very fortunate with my loan moves. I went to Royal Antwerp which was a good experience and then two spells at Sunderland and each of my loan spells were about progression in terms of the quality of the opposition. And it has definitely benefitted me.”
“That is dangerous talk (of an all-Manchester final). I wouldn’t say we’re glad to have avoided City. We played them a couple of years ago in the semi-finals, and we had two fantastic games with them, lots of action and goals and we got through to the final against Aston Villa.
“So I don’t think it really matters. At the end of the day you are going to have to beat the best teams to win it. If West Ham beat Manchester City you will have to say they have done a fantastic job.
“I watched Sunderland beat Chelsea the other night and not only are they fighting for Gus Poyet but he has also got them playing some good football. They controlled large parts of the game against Chelsea. They had some good possession. So it will be a more difficult game than people will imagine.”