Jonny Evans laughs off Jose Mourinho's 'mind games' ahead of Manchester United clash with Chelsea

The sides meet at Old Trafford on Monday night

Jonny Evans is not so sure whether Manchester United against Chelsea on Monday will shape the season and whether Jose Mourinho is the irresistible force he was when he first came to Stamford Bridge nine years ago. The Chelsea manager's statement that the side which won Sir Alex Ferguson's final Premier League trophy was sadly lacking in style draws only a smile from the United central defender.

"It's just mind games really. Maybe it is his way of trying to unsettle us," Evans said. "As players you don't look too deeply into those kinds of comments, you just laugh them off. It's gone within two seconds."

Perhaps because Jonny's father, Jackie, had trials at Arsenal and Chelsea and then returned to Belfast to face the reality of the Irish League, he was always keen to dampen down the hype around his son. At 25, Evans still carries around a natural scepticism.

"There will be a bit of pressure and, if he [David Moyes] doesn't get off to a good start, you guys in the press might be on his back, but we lost our first game of last season and went on to win the league, so you can't look too deeply into it.

"Everyone is saying that now Chelsea have Mourinho back it will make a big difference to them but we will have to wait and see whether that will be the case. I am sure he will have an impact but we might have to wait a month or two before you realise who is going to be challenging for the title. Mourinho had that spell at Chelsea when he gave his players a lot of confidence but it remains to be seen whether he can have that impact again."

Whether, as seems likely, Wayne Rooney starts on the bench, or plays against the side who will make a third bid for his services once the final whistle goes, much of the focus will be on the unsettled forward. However, for Moyes and Manchester United, the most important Englishman at Old Trafford may not be Rooney but Danny Welbeck, like Evans, a product of the club's academy. His performance on the opening evening of the season, at Swansea, was electric. The striker already has twice as many goals as he managed last season.

"People have been saying he doesn't get the attention he should but this is purely down to [a lack] of goals," said Evans. "If he adds a few goals to his game, people will start saying he is among the best in the world because in his overall play the things he can do with a ball are unbelievable."

It seems astonishing that there will be a Premier League game at Old Trafford without Ferguson. There will be an emptiness about the place on Monday despite the size of the ego in the opposition dugout. "I never imagined it," said Evans. "I knew the day would come when he would leave but I always wondered if I would still be at Manchester United when it happened."

Jonny Evans was speaking on behalf of Manchester United’s official tyre partner, Apollo Tyres, at the launch of their Go the Distance project that will see artificial pitches built from recycled tyres across India and the United Kingdom. See

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot