Patrice Evra calls for renewed focus at Manchester United

 

Manchester United defender Patrice Evra wants his team to build the barricades around their goal once more.

After opening the campaign by combining a thrilling goal blitz with generally steady performances at the back, United suddenly found themselves beset by problems.

Three goals given away in the Champions League against Swiss underdogs Basle marked the low point of a five-game run where they uncharacteristically claimed just a single clean sheet.

United did manage to keep Norwich out immediately prior to the international break but there was more than an element of good fortune about that.

With old rivals Liverpool and title contenders Manchester City their next two opponents, no further lapses can be accepted.

And Evra has demanded high standards ahead of the Anfield trip.

"I want us to go back to the way we were playing before the Chelsea game," said the Frenchman.

"We have to defend together, be very compact and not give our opponents too many chances.

"I was disappointed after the Chelsea game because they created a lot of chances and if it had finished 4-4 no-one could have said anything."

The anticipated return of skipper Nemanja Vidic from a calf injury should strengthen United at the back.

Rio Ferdinand should also have renewed focus given the explicit warning from England manager Fabio Capello that unless he regains full fitness, and keeps his place in Sir Alex Ferguson's team, he can forget about appearing at Euro 2012.

However, merely being fit guarantees nothing.

Not with the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans providing such stiff competition.

And it does not end there either.

Brazilian twins Rafael and Fabio have already proved themselves more than capable at full-back. Danny Welbeck has just won his second England cap after scoring five times for United - a figure only exceeded by Wayne Rooney.

And Tom Cleverley has just been handed a four-year contract extension as deserved reward for his impressive early-season performances.

Little wonder Evra is feeling vulnerable.

"I'm only 30 but I feel like the oldest player in the team," he said.

"I just have to show the young players that I'm still here and I want to play every game.

"I need to prove I am still fit because they are young. Maybe they have more energy and think they can steal my place.

"Of course, though, you also have to help them and talk to them if anything is wrong. We are here to protect them and to show them that it's easy to reach the top, but to stay there is the most difficult thing.

"But before we can say anything to the young players, we have to show our own example on the pitch because the competition is really fierce.

"The boss is not afraid to put the young lads in and it's working well."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker