Evra: Rafael will bounce back stronger

Most pundits have pointed to the youngster’s dismissal early in the

second half as the pivotal moment in a Champions League

quarter-final United appeared to have under control last week. As

the Red Devils subsequently failed to overcome Blackburn at Ewood

Park to slip four points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea,

it appears as though it will be a seminal moment in United’s entire

campaign. Yet Evra is confident the Old Trafford outfit will gain a

major benefit in the long run, as he is convinced Rafael is

destined for great things. “It is a good experience for Rafael and

he will definitely be a better player because of what happened,”

said Evra. “When he gets some experience he will be different

class. “I know Rafael’s mentality. I am sure about him. He has a

lot of hunger. “This was just part of the development process. He

will go on to become one of the best right-backs Manchester United

have ever had.” Evra was older and more experienced when he arrived

at United in a £5million deal from Monaco in January 2005. Yet

even he struggled at first, which is why he feels confident about

Rafael. “When I came here I was 24. I was already playing with the

French national team and had reached the final of the Champions

League with Monaco,” said Evra. “But the first six months were

difficult. “It was a big slap in my face. But I had enough

experience and character to do much better and show why Manchester

United bought me from Monaco.” Not that he views the young

Brazilian as the bad guy. Given the way Bayern used all their

experience to pressurise the referee into sending Rafael off, Evra

feels the dismissal could have happened to anyone. “Rafa did

something that maybe, with more experience, he would not do,”

reflected Evra. “But I am not certain. Someone might make the same

mistake at 32. “The point is, you need to make mistakes to become a

big player. “You learn. You have to be mentally strong because

anyone can do something stupid.”