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QUOTES: Patrice Evra on Manchester United

On Ferguson, 2007

When it comes to Alex Ferguson I just want to thank the Lord. Whatever may happen in the future, I have been trained by Alex Ferguson. When we leave the pitch he’s like everybody’s dad. But when it’s game time, wow. The club owes him a lot. When he eventually leaves it will not be easy. But that won’t happen too soon – he’s told us seeing us play makes him feel younger.”

On the fans, 2009

“When I arrived in England, I had the impression that I was doing a new job because of the impact of the stadiums and the supporters. There it’s a religion. We don’t lose on purpose, nobody does that, we all go out there to win. In three years at United I have just lost two games on the trot for the first time, I understand that we have to win the next game. But even when we’ve lost, they’ve still applauded us, not booed. I’m at a great club. When you have 76,000 people behind you, it gives you a massive boost.”

On booing Tevez, 2009

“I have been joking with him about the reception he will get. I don’t know if the fans will boo him or clap him. He did a great job at Manchester United. He respected the shirt and the fans understand that. But if they boo him I will join in. I have had a message from him saying they are going to win. I am not so sure. I just hope he plays. It will be special to play against him because he is such a good friend. But he is a City player now and we cannot let him beat Manchester United.””

On United’s history, 2009

“To play for Manchester United demands huge sacrifices. This is a club of hard workers. You are there to work hard, there are no glass jewels or paste trinkets here. At United you are carrying the weight of the club’s history. You become a Red Devil when you have fully understood that. The mentality of this club is to hate defeat. In four years I have lost very few League games. To win three League titles was a real achievement. To win a fourth this season would make us legends.”

On captaining United in League Cup final, 2010

“Being the second Frenchman to lift a trophy for United, after Cantona, is a great pride. I want to thank the manager, the players and the staff. They believe I have the soul of a leader. I was not looking after that, but if I have been given the armband, I get it.”

On fans wearing green and gold, 2010

“They are the original colors of Manchester United and the fans wear them because they love this club. They have their reasons for doing it and we don’t think that they’re crazy. They’d like things to change.”

On playing for United, 2010

“I got a load of DVDs. About the Munich disaster and the Busby Babes, about Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law, about Cantona. The whole story of the club. You meet these people around the club and I wanted to know who they were. What they had done for the club. Out of respect. Because when you shake the hand of Sir Bobby Charlton you can feel the legend. All the young players here need to understand the history of the club. After I watched those DVDs I realised I needed to respect the shirt. I needed to respect the story. Every time I play that is in my head. What a privilege it is to play for Manchester United. When you pull on the shirt you are pulling on history, and I say thanks to God that I play for this club. To be able to come in and train here. To work with legends like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. When I arrived here people asked me what excited me most. I said it was not training with Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney but players like Giggs and Scholes. They are the history of the club. Giggs trains like a player who has never won anything in his career. His hunger. His desire to win, even on the training pitch.”

On Rooney wanting to leave, 2010

“The star at Manchester United is the team, not one player. Everyone at the club understands that mentality. All young lads want to play for this club because they respect the shirt, because that shirt is the biggest story – it’s our history. That’s the message you give to the young lads and when you finish the game, you have to look in the mirror and say you have done your job. There was no problem in the dressing room with Wayne and if he had wanted to talk, we were open because we wanted to help him. But it’s a big mistake to say Manchester United is finished. I like to talk in a positive way, but that is the truth. I would not play any more for this club if I knew we were not strong enough to win the league. That is why we play for Manchester United and we will see at the end of the season. Yes, Manchester City are rivals, but they are every year. I love to play against them, I love to win against Chelsea and I hate to lose to Liverpool at Anfield.”

On calling Arsenal babies, 2010

“I think we confirmed what I’d said before the match. I think Arsenal played really well, you shouldn’t neglect that, but we were better. I really say that without any arrogance. I heard people saying that what I said was below the belt, but that wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to show how much I believe in my team, in their potential and strength. We know Arsenal and we know that if you don’t let them breathe, which is what the coach said before the match, then it becomes hard for them, especially at Old Trafford. United always show up for the big games. Arsenal enjoyed a lot of possession but only had one chance. I think our victory was really deserved, it didn’t boil down to small details. But people will have a go at me again for saying what I think.”

On Rooney wanting to leave, 2011

“Before the Champions League game against the Turkish side, everyone was criticising United, saying it was the end of the empire. I said, ‘You have to pay the musician at the end of the show’, and I still think the same. Yes, it was big trouble, but in the end we stayed united. It’s not only about one player. I always say Manchester without Evra, Rooney or a big player will always be the same team because the star is the team, not just one player. Sometimes in your life you have problems but Wayne is a professional and now you see he just gives back. Maybe it’s a sorry to the fans for what he said. That’s at an end now – it’s over. I always believed in this side. At the beginning of the season I told all my friends, ‘I play this year to win the league again and reach the Champions League final’. When we were in that bad position we still believed we could win the league. How many goals do we score in the last minute? That’s the right spirit. We always believe.”

On why he’s proud to play for United, 2011

“This is the United spirit: you can play everywhere. If you want to win, you have to accept it. You can see Antonio Valencia playing right-back as well. Only because United play like a team. The team is the star, not only one player, that’s why you can put me and Michael Carrick at centre-back; we’re going to win because it’s the team effort and team spirit. That’s why I’m confident. I’ve said that from the beginning – in six years playing here – the Man United spirit… no one team has got that spirit. This is United. This is why I’m so proud to play here.”

On Manchester United’s spirit, 2012

“Manchester United never die. A lot of people forget that, they don’t want to respect the story (of the club). But when you have the story behind this club, you know that when there’s a difficult moment you’ll answer back, because everyone in this team has a big character, a big personality. If we hadn’t shown that we would have lost the game. But we know we’re strong. The manager told us it was a big game and that we had to go out and show what Manchester United is all about – and that’s what we showed. He told us that we’re not going to win every game just because we’re Manchester United. We had to walk out and play with the Manchester United spirit, and that’s what we did in the first half. Even though we lost two games in a row, I didn’t think everything was over.”

On Tevez’s “RIP Fergie” sign, 2012

“I was very surprised by Tevez’s attitude against Sir Alex Ferguson. I’m not sure how the manager feels about it but I’m sure he won’t be impressed. It’s disrespectful. Tevez spent two years at this club and was treated extremely well by the manager so I don’t really understand his reaction or the truth about the situation. The poster was in very bad taste, no one from Manchester United appreciated it. Tevez is an adult, he plays for another club and is responsible for his own actions. It’s a shame because he was always respected at Manchester United and remained in contact with some of the players. But I have no idea what will happen now.”

On winning at Anfield, 2012

“It’s unbelievable. To be fair, I always say one of the best sensations is when we win at Anfield. We’ve been coming here for four years [almost five years], a long time and I’ve not been seeing a dressing room like that with smiles on the faces after the game. I want to win against Liverpool. If I play badly or play well, I just want to win and that is what we did.”

On Manchester, 2012

“It was really different from Paris. For four years before moving to Manchester I was living in Monte Carlo so it was a big change. But now I’m used to it and the people are very nice in Manchester. I’m happy here. I remember when I first joined the club I said ‘the weather is not so sunny here’ and people said I hated Manchester, but no. Now there are lots of new buildings and I think the city has improved a lot. You can see it in the city centre, the Trafford Centre, it’s improved a lot. I’m happy when I go to Manchester. It’s just about the weather that I’m not happy! If it’s hot and sunny, I play in the garden with my kids and have a barbecue. When it’s sunny Manchester can be one of the best cities.”

On Manchester City, 2012

“I don’t know if we could talk about rivalry between both Manchester clubs, because we have always been superior to Manchester City. And even if they won the national title last season, that won’t change anything.”

On rumours he was leaving, 2013

“The problem with me is I don’t read the papers so I don’t know what people are saying about me. I had a French interview and I said: “It’s personal’ meaning ‘I don’t want to talk about it”. Maybe some people [outside] want me to leave the club but that’s not the case. I will answer if somebody wants to talk about my contract because I think it ends after this year but then they have to talk with Manchester United and my agent. Me? I love this club so much. The only thing I can say is it [the French interview] was a big misunderstanding.”

On captaining United, 2014

“It’s a great feeling. I remember when Sir Alex told me I would be captain for the first time before our win in Wolfsburg [December 2009]. He said, ‘Pat, tomorrow you are the captain.’ I said, ‘Okay, I’ll let you know [if that’s okay] tomorrow!’ [Laughs]. I am always so proud whenever I captain the team, it’s a fantastic honour, but there are many captains here.”

On making up for defeat against Olympiacos in the first leg of the round of 16, 2014

“When you win, you win together and when you lose, you lose together. It’s been a difficult season for everyone. We’re not used to losing games. We always win. Everybody wants to fight for this club, everyone loves this club. We know we had a bad game in the first leg. Even a three-year-old Manchester United fan will have been hurting from that performance. But in life you always have a second chance and we get that tomorrow tonight. I’m not God and telling you we will qualify tomorrow but I can promise you we will all fight and respect the shirt and make sure all the fans will be really proud of us after the game.”

On scoring against Bayern Munich, 2014

“It was an emotional day, the day before the game. Everyone had been to the Munich memorial, where the plane had crashed with the Busby Babes. It was amazing. I was talking with a young player like Adnan Januzaj and telling him, ‘These people were like us, they were on a plane going to play a football game.’ And at the end they never see their families again. I always pray before games, I pray every day – to save my family, I even sometimes pray for my enemy. But I asked, ‘Can I give something for the Busby Babes’. I didn’t say a goal, but just to make sure we played for them in that game. That’s why when I scored that goal, you can see I was really emotional, I was angry. I couldn’t believe it. That’s my little secret – and now everyone knows that secret. In the end we went out of the competition and that is why I was really disappointed, but it was a special moment for me.”

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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68 Comments

  1. samuel - united WE stand says:

    My view on roy keane… In comparison with the most talented of midfielders, I don’t think he was the best, may not necessarily possess the technical qualities they had.. The likes of scholes, zidane etc were on another level talent wise but keane made up for his limitations in many aspects with his qualities.

    a player requires Drive, determination to succeed but keane had that and even more.. He has personality that makes him overwhelm the big stage, a character that may have made him compete with very best and come out on top sometimes.. He is a,leader and not just necessarily because of a myth. He could tackle, read the game, pass as efficiently, tactically strong etc but there were better players in that era, talent and quality wise… Keane’s job was to stop these players anyway.. He just made the most efficient role more eyecatching. His volatile energetic just emphasises the different sides of the game needed and keane was exactly that.. A world class player in the role he acustomed but there were definitely players who were stronger talent wise, no shame in admitting that.

    What keane did is make up for it in many other ways and so has fergie, a manager with the cleverness to accept his weaknesses. Fergie was not the strongest tactically but again, he surrounded himself with top coaches. At first he admitted he didn’t listen to coaches working with him but he soon acquired different opinions. Fergie’s strenghth has always been the managerial side. He knew how to make unpopular decisions.. which more often than not was right, he instilled a winning drive and mentality within the team, he won bucket loads of honours because his strenghth overshadowed any weaknesses and even when those weaknesses were evident, he surrounded himself with strong coaches who would cover it.

    I think in fergie and keane, we have two men who undoubtedly had talent.. In keane he had his qualities and perhaps better players were around, he still matched and stopped them. Same in a way for fergie.. His strenghth was the management side but his unique character/personality catapulted beyond… That perhaps is what some posters are elaborating. It’s a good debate and i’m always one for people that do express their opinions in balanced manner regardless of it being unpopular. The blpg can only thrive with diversity, not a one way nodding pattern.

  2. Redfrog says:

    @Mirainashe. I don’t wan’t to dipute your point. But you said that tactics have nothing to do with track record. I will say, in that case what tactics have to do in football ? Tactics as an abstract thing always comes from the top. Of course Ferguson have let CQ do his job, and was smart enough to delegate so well without interacting to much with the head coach and let him do his job properly to have the players respecting the guy for his job : that is called very smart management buy Sir Alex, and he was well know and respected by other managers for that. But just don’t think that tactics weren’t fixed by the coach. Of course there is an exchange of ideas between the staff and the coach, but the manager is taking the last decision about tactics and formations : That is a fact. ANd let me tell you that at that game (taking good decision’s and being smart in your job) as track record shows, Sir Alex is not in the same galaxy as CQ. Who is the smarter man.
    I understand that you respect “tactically” managers who are capable of imposing an abstract idea on the game. And this concept is kind of absolute and revolutionize the football world.
    I think Sir Alex indeed is not that kind of guy because he is very practical, for him idea are more a patchwork of what is experienced in life. ANd the challenge is to organize this ideas to being successful. It is an other kind of philosophy which is called “practical philosophy”, going in life by experience before the concept or idea.
    Thinking by concepts is properly continentals as english philosophy is based on feelings and experiences. You can rate higher the former one, but it is not more truthful or a guaranteed success then the other one.

  3. Mirainashe says:

    @Paschal

    Kroos claims he never wanted to leave Bayern Munich. But I do agree, if he was leaving, then he wanted to be playing for a big club and in the champions league. I think Vidal on the other hand might have been open to United given how LVG has tried persistently to sign him.

  4. Kris Okechukwu says:

    @Tommy
    U know very much about utd from youth to senior setup and also u go to watch them live so u are very close to things but that does not mean u know all. When arguing stop twisting peoples opinion making them look permit me to use deluded.
    Roy keane is a great player but d argument was that he was not d most recognised in d 90s. As for me keane does not get d adulation he deserves. U can bring up interviews of names of players praising him that is normal.
    @marq
    Saying davids was recognised because he played with zindane is unfair, makalele was not valued much until he left and immediately d galatico project failed. Davids was doing d dirty work and that made zidane to save energy and use it to take on players.
    Ones opinion should not be attacked because u feel u know all or we should not think because saf has no weakness because of his achievements, so when his weakness re brought forward it should not be seen as belittling. My liverpool friend showed me one of there blog and even there own daglish gets sticks.
    Saf is a great manager but not best known for his tactical abilities. If am to choose, roy keane any day ahead of Davids.

  5. Mirainashe says:

    @Redfrog

    I didn’t say tactics had nothing to do with track record. I said in fact the most important thing is knowing how to manage in general. Lots of talented tacticians fail because of this. Benitez is highly underrated for his tactical abilities because they are undermined by his inflexible and sometimes unwise management methods. His rotation of players for instance is normally the cause of some of his teams weaker performances. It’s a failure to manage. AvB is another one that comes to mind. When everyone buys into his philosophy he succeeds but his management is generally immature. Now here is the thing. I think you’re being too theoretical about things. It’s not a given that if Ferguson is overall in charge then he is the one formulating the tactics. I’ve given specific quotes from people like Neville who talked about “it was his (CQ) master plan”. Then you have to also look at what basic philosophy CQ had. Everywhere he has coached, the most basic thing has been defence. Not defensive football as such but he always builds from defence first. Kind of an Arrigo Sacchi influence if we’re to be loose about it. He places a big emphasis on tight defending and cohesion. Only when you get your defence right do we start talking about the rest of the strategy. He also places high emphasis on at least one almost static effective passing central midfielders. Or more accurately, at least one holding midfielder. You’ll discover these elements were very prominent at United during CQ’s time at Old Trafford. The defence tactics were based on tight marking and a compact unit from GK to CF. Mobility was largely limited to the front players. Wide men and forwards. In his short time at Madrid that’s exactly what he tried to do and made every effort to keep Makelele who was not in good books with the president. That’s why he shifted Beckham to CM. He is generally less mobile and has a great passing range. He also tried to buy Pepe then 20 and valued at €3m but was told straight to that “defenders don’t sell shirts”. Now look at the United mirror.

    Roy Keane. It is largely believed that he left because of CQ. They were at loggerheads because Keane didn’t like his tactics. Keane being the quintessential box to box midfielder was too mobile. He was being phased out. They tried Smith, Liam Miller,Kleberson and eventually O’Shea took the role well. Remember the O’Shea- Giggs CM partnership when Scholes went blind? The next stage was the famous Carrick-Scholes double pivot when they both stayed in the centre circle spraying passes with a highly mobile front four. CQ is the reason the B2B role was retired at United. That’s why the goals dried up in midfield. Even Anderson who was an attacking midfielder was played deep. These are very CQ trademarks. If you watched his Iran team in Brazil, similar strategy. Look at his time with Portugal. Mean defence, static holding mid. Mobile frontline.

    This is just one way to illustrate his influence on tactics. Other ways include direct quotes etc. But I don’t believe Ferguson was tactically inept. But I know CQ brought tactical revolution. Ferguson said it. The players said it. You see there’s no shame in getting help from specialists and experts. Personally I think if people like LvG followed the same thinking they would benefit from hiring specialists in management in order to help strengthen their overall leadership

  6. Tommy says:

    @Miranshe

    You say he wasnt one of the best players in the 90s, yet Beckham called him the best midfielder he ever played with and he played with him for yearsn in the 90s, and Zidane also played in the 90s but he never said him, what exactly would Beckham achieve by calling Keane the best he ever played with? he wasnt best mates with Keane, in fact if he was being biased he would of picked Scholes but he picked keane, is beckham lieing. Although Keane was never a defensive midfielder as such http://bleacherreport.com/articles/231097-greatest-ever-football-the-top-10-defensive-midfielders-of-all-time#articles/231097-greatest-ever-football-the-top-10-defensive-midfielders-of-all-time thie is a wevsite which listed Keane above Davids, deschamps, Viera and makelele as the 3rd best defensive midfielder of all time, only Rikkarrd and Matturs named above him. Pep was fantastic player, he lacked pace thought which stopped him being a great in my opinion. I have give you evidence from what players have said about him, you called Beckham world class and keane only good thats an insult it was the other way around fella, did you also know that when his contract was coming to an end, the cream of the crop in Italy including juventus wanted him in 1998? Like Blacksocks said hes one of the best midfielders I have ever seen from any club, and you asked for examples I have given you a player who he played with and against and a writers opinion so its different opinions but you still wont have it, you believe whatever you want to believe you were all over Pique comments about CQ but dont believe when I give you examples that is too faced, you wont get too many including Lippi who thought Davids was a better player, now thats a fact!!

    On Miranda, i think I would rather have vermaelen to be honest, he is less of a risk, Miranda is approaching 30 years old I think and has never played in England before and for £20million or so its a big risk, all transfers have a risk but this one is bigger than normal, Brazilian defenders dont have the best record on these shores, despite being injury prone Vermaelen knows the league, speeks the language and is cheaper and is far less of a risk than Miranda.

    @Samuel

    Think youre under playing Keanes qualitites, make no mistake about it, in Keanes years at United he was the best player at the club, read the game like a book, had the best engine, very good passer of the ball, never wasted position, got forward, scored goals, great in the air, great leadership skills, when he left SAF hailed him as the best player he ever managed and at the time you certaintly ciouldnt argue with it, ive never known a player who wanted to win as much, between 93 – 2001, United lost 1 league title when Keane was fully fit (In 95), In 98 we would have won the league had keane not damaged his critiate knee ligaments, between 1999 – 2001, he was the best midfielder in the world, I am 100% convinced, he had no weeknesses to his game and as henry pointed out the complete midfielder.

    @Kris Okechukwu

    Thats true, I dont no everything mate even though I may come accross, but I have been lucky enough to see some of the all time greats play the game and asd a midfielder keane is right up their with the very best of them in my opinion and I really think some people who say he was just good cant have seen him play.

  7. Tommy says:

    I dont need too (Or shouldnt need to) tell people about Juventus semi final 2nd leg, The best team in the world went 2 0 up, it was over, Beckham, Butt, Giggs, Stam heads were gone, everybody was gone except for Roy Keane who singly handadly dragged United through even though he picked up a yellow from a Zidane dive to put him out of the final, he was playing for Manchester United not Roy Keane, unlike others who have missed finals, he never once let it bother him, and he drove the team on and it remains the single best midfield performance I have ever seen in my lifetime, and its likely to remain that way for some time. Davids, Deschamps, never reached that level of performance Roy hit that night and that Mirenshe is a fact!!

  8. wayne barker says:

    fuck me why are we even having this conversation on a U

  9. wayne barker says:

    utd blog(computer had gremlins) Keane was one of the best ever and his will to win and drive is unmeasurable,can argue he’s the best captain of all time period.He made everyone around him better and everyone had to give 100% or there would be consequences.He was hugely talented and hard as nails a Warrior no one even close to him in modern football anymore

  10. Marq says:

    @Kris Okechukwu

    Where did I attack anyone? I merely challenged the said individual to come up with support of his/her opinion that Sir Alex had no input at tactics, that the likes of Klopp & Pep are better than managers, and Davids being better than Keane. All that was offered previously was personal opinion. If it was the universal truth, surely getting the support of a mere 3 people is easy enough. Or are all of those who opposes ignorant as he/she suggests

  11. Marq says:

    And to Mira. You said the people here refuses to accept challenges. i think you are wrong or you are refusing to accept that we have differing opinions. You posted your opinion, we rejected it based on our opinion, and that is that.

    For everyone else, can we just move on? Its getting boring.

    Next topic please;

    * Who should be the next United Captain, and why? No need to belittle others, just state your case

  12. Marq says:

    I’ll start

    Tricky one, but I think Rvp will get the nod. Unless otherwise Rooney shows excellent pre-season form and fitness, don’t think he will get it. The only other viable choice is Carrick, but he is out until Oct.

  13. Paschal Agwunobi says:

    Tactics this, tactics that.. To make everyone here happy, I feel Moyes is the greatest tactician of all time. How he turned a team consisting of champions into a mid-table team still surprises me. That man Is full of surprises.maybe if we will have been relegated next season if we still left him…hahahaha,lol. He even broke bottle on a lad who scoffed at him at a bar…hahahaha, he’ really full of surprises.Lol

  14. MobiMulla says:

    @mirinashe
    Just coz Keane didn’t get the recognition that doesn’t mean he wasn’t better.

    Gerrard lampard xavi iniesta busquets pirlo Davids Beckham Alonso schweinstiger e.t.c all get much more recognition than Paul schools but none are better and that’s a fact..

  15. MobiMulla says:

    Lol I meant Scholes autocorrect..

    Anyway for captain..my preferred choice was RVP but there’s a lot going on about how he’s not been at the club long enough. Personally I think that doesn’t matter. If you’re good enough you should get it. Their is also the point that neither Rooney or RVP should be captain because of the friction it could cause. Someone mentioned Carrick and I do think he’s a suitable candidate but he’s out for a few months tho apparently LVG is considering waiting till then to announce his permanent captain so he can judge Carrick. Jones is also an outsider because he’s very vocal. Again in my opinion he’s age doesn’t matter. Finally if we sign either Hummels or Vermaelen than they’d be a good choice for the captaincy and if we somehow sign both then Vermaelen would get the nod for me.

    From the current players here’s my top 9 in order..
    RVP
    Rooney
    Carrick
    Jones
    Fletcher
    DDG
    Mata (a messi type of captain) he could inspire his team mates and he seems a really nice guy who gets on with everyone and has the love and respect of all.
    Evans (could well thrive as the main man)
    Valencia (does it for Ecuador)

  16. MerlinUnited says:

    CQ was leading the training, but the tactics and what they should practice on comes from the whole coaching team, and that includes the boss. It’s not like CQ was running the show on his own. But he was most definitely the one with most input of all his assistants, and he was great with the player’s. This is no secret, SAF writes about the decision to cut out the daily work at the training field for health reasons.

  17. Chris says:

    @Tommy: You are bang on about Keano in the 99 semi; that was the most selfless and incredible display I have ever seen from a player or captain. Keane was immense that night.

    I have a Roy Keane signed shirt which I will be buried in, total legend.

  18. Chris says:

    RVP will be our next captain unless we sign a Hummels or Vermalen.

    Carrick is not captain material; he isn’t a leader on the pitch, that’s not a criticism, its just not one of his talents.

    I would totally gutted if Rooney is still at the club come the end of the transfer window let alone made fucking captain.

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