Patrice Evra has admitted none of Manchester United’s players are safe from the chop this season.
By David McDonnell
Evra’s own role at left-back was called into question last term, although the lack of a credible challenger saw him keep his place.
But after an unconvincing start to the season, despite United being second in the table, Evra admitted the axe could fall on any of the squad.
“I always say when you play for United every year if we don’t win the title you feel like you haven’t done your job,” said Evra.
“That’s why the boss this year will give no presents to anybody.
“If you don’t play well you could quite easily not be playing. There are a lot of players and it’s difficult for him to pick his 11 players.
“That’s good. Maybe last year there wasn’t big enough competition on every part of the pitch.
“But now everyone has to play their best because, if you don’t, you will be on the bench. That applies to everyone. We all have to play better.”
Alexander Buttner, bought in the summer to challenge Evra, will start at left-back in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Newcastle at Old Trafford.
Evra, who looked suspect last season, was poor in United’s 2-1 win at Liverpool, but claimed critics have short memories when it comes to assessing the merits of players.
“People forget very quickly how I got to become United’s left-back,” said Evra. “There was Gabriel Heinze and Mikael Silvestre here when I arrived.
“When I hear people say Patrice never had someone to fight him for his place, they have to remember I have fought with two great left-backs. They have bad memories. I will keep doing that. I will keep fighting.
“It’s too easy for people to say that now we have bought another left-back, ‘Oh yes Patrice Evra will have to fight for his place now’. I have always fought for my place.
“If someone is there or if there isn’t, I will fight because you have to respect the shirt. When you play for United that is the big challenge.”
Although Evra was bullish about his own form, insisting he was happy with it, he admitted Buttner could take his place if he allows his level to drop.
“I’ve been really happy with my form and I’m confident with my quality,” said Evra. “I’ve been here six years and I want to be the best. That’s my target every year. My biggest challenge is myself. I’m not being arrogant but I am my biggest challenge.
“I’m not special. The star is the team not just one player. That’s why, if I end up on the bench, it will be because I didn’t play well and I accept that. You have to fight for your place every day.
“It’s really hard to stay at the top of that pyramid. You have to play your best. Six years I have been at Old Trafford and four times I have won the title.
“But last season, to have lost like that, was so painful for everyone, for the fans, for the manager, for the staff and players.
“We don’t want that to happen again this time.”