After Wes Brown and John O’Shea were sold in the summer, Jonny Evans had a wake up call, and admitted he might only have one more season left at the club if he didn’t improve on his 2010-2011 form.

When Nemanja Vidic got injured in December it should have ended United’s title hopes. The fact that United have the best defensive record in the league this season, conceding just five more goals than City, speaks volumes about the way he has played with Rio Ferdinand.

Evans has expressed his delight at his improving form and acknowledges maybe he shouldn’t have been so honest at the start of the season.

“Maybe I was too honest and shouldn’t have said that,” he told the official website. “But that was an honest opinion of myself, I guess. Every player goes through that. It was up to me to find a way to get through it. It was a challenge for me and everybody needs to be challenged. You either rise to it or you don’t, and if you don’t then you don’t deserve to be at a club like Manchester United. Those are the sorts of challenges everybody here faces – when that happens it’s up to you to try and raise your game and get back into the team.”