Evra: Red Devils were ‘too nice’

Whilst Sir Alex Ferguson was bemoaning the failure of referee Chris

Foy to award a penalty for Gael Clichy’s late foul on Michael Owen,

at the same time dismissing a blatant handball by Nemanja Vidic

that could easily have led to the United skipper being sent off,

Evra feels the blame lies rather closer to home. “We didn’t play to

the Manchester United way and when we don’t play to the Manchester

United way we don’t deserve anything,” said the France defender.

“People think when we played against Schalke the game was easy. We

made the game easy because we were ready for the battle and ready

for the challenge. The game was easy because we played with more

aggression and with power. “Maybe against Arsenal we think it is

going to be easy but we didn’t make the game easy.” In a run of six

wins in seven meetings with the Gunners leading up to Sunday’s

clash, United had made a habit of hitting their opponents with

rapid counter-attacks, believing Arsenal were unable to penetrate

their own defences, no matter how much of the ball they had. Evra

still feels that now. Arsenal’s goal came as United were

readjusting following the substitution of Anderson and Park

Ji-sung’s momentary lapse of concentration freed Aaron Ramsey to

slot home Robin van Persie’s cut-back. Of far more concern was that

United forgot the attacking aspect of their game plan, until it was

far too late. “We were too nice,” said Evra. “We know Arsenal. They

keep possession of the ball but they are never dangerous. “But

normally when we come to the Emirates, we play with more power and

aggression and create more chances. “You have to kill that game

early, not wait until you concede a goal. “The attitude at the

beginning of the game wasn’t right. That is why I was very

frustrated. We didn’t deserve to win.” Ferguson now faces an

important few days reminding his team they are still in a position

of strength, two goals ahead of Schalke, who visit Old Trafford on

Wednesday in the Champions League semi-final decider, and three

points ahead of Chelsea, against whom they have home advantage in

next week’s crucial Premier League encounter. The United boss has

already declared his intention to make changes in midweek, with

Paul Scholes, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen all primed to

start, in the hope of ensuring his first-choice starting line-up

will be fresh for that mouth-watering clash with Carlo Ancelotti’s

men. Darren Fletcher is also expected to be available in midweek,

although his involvement could be limited after two months out with

a virus that caused significant weight loss. Ferguson will

doubtless pack his bench with key men such as Wayne Rooney on

Wednesday, just in case a tie that could have been put well beyond

Schalke last week takes an unexpected turn for the worse. But, on

the face of it, Chelsea present a far more formidable obstacle as

even a draw would leave United requiring just four points from

their final two matches, against relegation candidates Blackburn

and Blackpool. “Our destiny is still in our own hands,” emphasised

Evra. “We have two massive games coming up, against Schalke and

Chelsea. “We must focus on recovering for the Schalke game but we

also know if we want to win the title we have to beat Chelsea. If

we don’t beat them we are going to be in trouble. We don’t want to

be in trouble. “But I have to say, I am not worried. “Against

Arsenal, we did not do the things we normally do. “Hopefully it was

an accident because we have five games left. Every one is like a

final. We need to win them all.”