Evans hails United spirit

BY foxsports • January 10, 2013

Crystal Palace have signed Manchester City forward Alex Nimely on loan until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old, who has previously had loan spells at Middlesbrough and Coventry, becomes Ian Holloway's first signing since taking over at Selhurst Park in November.

And Nimely has revealed that Holloway has had his eye on the Liberia-born player for some time.

He told the club's official website: "I've played against Blackpool and Crystal Palace a couple of times so I think the manager has been watching me for a long time so when he gave me the call to come here I was very happy to.

"The lads are all good and they've welcomed me well. I trained last week before the game against Stoke and I watched that game and was shocked by the way they play football by keeping the ball on the floor.

"I met the manager and he's fantastic. His philosophy is great as he wants to play good football and help the young players improve."

Holloway added: "I've admired him for a couple of years, I like his movement, skill and his tenacity. I want him to play for us and get some goals and hopefully he'll do that.

"He's a nice kid and he's one of the ones that they tend to stack and rack at clubs like Manchester City and I'm very pleased that with the choices he had he's chosen us."

Despite bringing in France defender Mathieu Debuchy from another Ligue 1 club, Lille, this week, Pardew is still looking to strengthen in the area in order to take some pressure off his established names.

Valenciennes president Jean-Raymond Legrand told le10sport.com: "Newcastle are very interested, they have made an offer. We will wait and see. But I will not sell players unless I can replace them."

While Pardew continues to be frustrated in his search for a striker to replace the departed Demba Ba, he also alluded on Thursday to his defensive concerns.

The Magpies manager said: "It's a position that we really need to strengthen as we have let in some loose goals this year because we have not had the competition, and the likes of Davide Santon have needed a rest at times. That sort of pressure has told on us."

Meanwhile Pardew insisted the club's failure to land a new striker is not for want of trying, with confusion persisting over the future of reported long-term target Loic Remy at Marseille.

Pardew added: "There is no doubt we are beavering away in the background to try to get players in.

"At the start of the window you get all sorts of mixed messages and it's very difficult to cement somebody down to a decision because they're waiting to see if another club gets involved.

"But it will accelerate as we get nearer the end of the window. The problem for us teams who perhaps need to strengthen is trying to get those decisions made."

Pardew reported better news on the injury front, with Papiss Cisse and Fabricio Coloccini both fit to return for Saturday's Premier League trip to Norwich, while Yohan Cabaye could come back to the bench.

Wells has been one of Bradford's stand-out performers in their sensational Capital One Cup run this season and he scored in Tuesday's semi-final first-leg win over Aston Villa.

The 22-year-old's performances against Arsenal and Villa have alerted clubs higher up the football pyramid with the likes of Leeds, Huddersfield and Wolves all credited with an interest in the forward.

Wells has been a revelation for Bradford since arriving on a free transfer from Carlisle in the summer of 2011 and he has scored 16 goals for the Bantams this term.

Bradford are keen to keep hold of Wells and they are bracing themselves for bids for the Bermudian international following his heroics in the cup this season.

Wells' agent, David Threlfall, is not surprised if the skilful striker is attracting interest elsewhere, but insists the player is focused on doing his best for Bradford.

"There is always going to be interest in someone like Nahki and he has been in great form this season," Threlfall told skysports.com.

"Nahki is enjoying his football at the minute and he is just concentrating on doing his best for Bradford and helping them to success this season."

United entertain arch rivals Liverpool on Sunday knowing victory would take them a massive 10 points clear of Manchester City, who visit Arsenal later in the afternoon.

It would also put them well on course to become the first English team to win 20 titles, having eclipsed Liverpool's mark of 18 when they last finished top in 2011.

The influence of Sir Alex Ferguson is evidently a key element of that sustained success, along with countless world-class players.

But it seems one of the less obvious reasons is the collective approach, even when the battle for first-team places is at its fiercest.

"I know that, at other clubs, you get people thinking that if another player plays in their position they want them to do badly," Evans told Inside United.

"That's life, in a way, people don't want someone else to come in and do their job better than them.

"But I've never really taken that point of view.

"I don't think any of the lads in this team think 'When he comes into the team, I hope he makes a mistake today'.

"We are all in it together. We are Manchester United and we want to win trophies.

"If I am not getting picked in the team and the player in that position makes mistakes, we are not going to win leagues. We are not going to win trophies.

"From that point of view, we are all in it together and we need each other to be successful."

While Ferguson welcomed back all his defenders over the Christmas period, this Sunday will be the first occasion he will be picking from strength after a full week's preparation.

It means Evans' status as United's most regularly used central defender this term is under threat.

Certainly if the Northern Ireland star is picked to try and subdue Luis Suarez it will represent a significant milestone in a career that now extends to 146 first-team games given what a long-term partnership Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have enjoyed since the Serbian's arrival in 2006.

"When I first came into the squad, the level those two were playing at was unbelievable," said Evans.

"The presence they have and the way they could defend was at the very top.

"For younger players to try and emulate that was a big ask.

"For me coming through the youth team, it was all about trying to get to that level.

"The challenge for me has to be as good as I can be, not really the challenge of getting into a normal first team. I am trying to reach a standard set by Rio and Vidic, two of the best centre-backs in the world."


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