Evra relishing fight for place
Manchester United defender Patrice Evra says he is relishing the fight with Alex Buttner for the role of left-back in Sir Alex Ferguson's team.
After his form was criticised last season, Evra's position has come under greater scrutiny this year following the arrival of Buttner from Vitesse Arnhem.
Evra is unlikely to be dropped at the moment. However, Buttner made a pleasing debut against Wigan earlier this month and is likely to get another chance to impress in Wednesday night's Capital One Cup third-round tie with Newcastle.
Yet Evra does not feel under any more pressure because Buttner is breathing down his neck.
"Football is like a pyramid," he said. "It is easy to reach the top of the pyramid but to stay there is the hardest part.
"It is too easy for people to say that now we have bought another left-back Patrice Evra will have to fight for his place. Patrice Evra has always fought for his place.
"If someone is there or not I will fight because you have to respect the shirt. When you play for Manchester United that is the big challenge."
Besides which, Evra feels that those who regard his six-year United career as being a relatively easy ride have very short memories.
"When I hear people say Patrice never had someone to fight him for his place I think they have bad memories," he said.
"They forget very quickly how I got to become Manchester United's left-back. I fought with two great players in Gabriel Heinze and Mikael Silvestre."
And the demands are even greater following a season of failure.
The margin between triumph and disaster last season might have been one stoppage time goal by Sergio Aguero, but to Evra it could just as well be a chasm.
And he is acutely aware that under such circumstances, Ferguson will be keeping a very close eye on those whose standards may be slipping.
"When you play for Manchester United any year you don't win the title you feel like you haven't done your job," he said.
"I am not special. If I end up on the bench it will be because I didn't play well. I accept that. Even if we lose I will always blame myself.
"This year the boss will give no presents to anybody. It should be difficult for him to pick his eleven players.
"Maybe last year there wasn't enough competition on every part of the pitch."