Man Utd V Aston Villa at Old Trafford - Match Preview
Updated Sunday, 21st April 2013
Man Utd V Aston Villa at Old Trafford - Match Preview.
Critics want us to fail - Evra
Patrice Evra accepts Manchester United will never get true recognition for their achievements because so many critics want them to fail.
United are closing in on a record 20th league title which they can secure on Monday night following Manchester City's 3-1 defeat at Tottenham.
Victory against Aston Villa at Old Trafford will also set them up for a four match run-in where maximum points would allow them to overhaul Chelsea's record Premier League total of 95 points.
Yet it seems destined to be a championship collected with caveats.
For few think this is one of Sir Alex Ferguson's best teams, let alone the finest since the league was changed in 1992.
It is not something particularly understood within the Red Devils camp - but then Evra is not that bothered about it.
"People want to see Manchester United fall down," said the France full-back.
"In the seven years I have been here, it has always been the same.
"When you lose one game it is like the end of the world.
"If you don't accept this pressure, you can't play for Manchester United."
What irritates Evra more is that United's critics prefer to ignore the positive aspects of their play.
For instance, at the start of the season, when they were continually hauling themselves back from losing positions, few looked at the battling qualities shown, preferring instead to concentrate on their leaky defence.
More recently, questions have been asked why the Red Devils have been so lacklustre, rather than focus on the 22 points collected from 27 since Gary Neville singled out David de Gea for criticism at Tottenham.
Even after their Champions League exit to Real Madrid, the hangover from which still appears to be lingering, United have collected 10 points from five games.
"It is right," said Evra. "In the beginning of the season, Manchester United was not doing well, we always had to come back.
"But we did keep winning. People forget we are a marathon team.
"The league is not a sprint. People just want to see us playing well in a big game against City, or Liverpool.
"This is not the way to win a league. Of course you want to win against the big teams. But it is about how many games you win.
"I thought 'why are people talking. We are 12 or 15 points clear but they keep saying Manchester United this or that.
"If that is what they want to do, OK. But in the end, if we get to lift the trophy we will see who is right."
Paul Lambert wants his under-pressure side to enjoy themselves.
Villa remain entrenched in the relegation battle as the scrap for survival intensifies.
However they have timed a run of form nicely, picking up 10 points from their last five games and Lambert sees no reason why they cannot give United a difficult night and take something from the game.
"I've got no worries about going there," said the manager. "It's going to be a fantastic place to play football, against the champions elect.
"If you don't enjoy going playing there, there's something wrong. If you can't handle the pressure, you're not going to be a footballer. It's what you're having a career for.
"It's a game no-one expects us to get anything from but we're certainly a goal threat.
"They have been the most consistent team in the league but from our own point of view we need the points every bit as much as they do."
Lambert's side were unfortunate to lose 3-2 to United in the reverse fixture at Villa Park earlier this season, having led 2-0 only for substitute Javier Hernandez to score twice after Ron Vlaar's own goal.
The Scot believes Villa can take heart from that performance. "They're used to playing that kind of football every time," he said. "They can bring on the likes of Javier Hernandez."
Lambert is happy to pay tribute to evergreen United boss Sir Alex Ferguson as he continues to rack up milestones and trophies. "You'd love to know how he's done it," he said.
"Starting out at East Stirlingshire, St Mirren, Aberdeen where he did a fantastic job and then Manchester United. He had a hard time at United to start with but the rest is history.
"What he's done is nothing short of remarkable. I know him pretty well. I used to go and watch Manchester United training when I was out of work.
"I don't think there's a better manager. I don't think that'll we'll see another manager stay at one club for 27 years. Who's going to do that?
"He's surpassed anything anyone could do. He's won virtually everything, European Cups, league titles. He's a top, top manager."