at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Manchester, United Kingdom – Patrice Evra is confident Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will find the players he needs to bolster the squad after they just failed to retain their Premier League title.
United narrowly missed out on being crowned champions of England for a 20th time on Sunday after cross-town rivals Manchester City scored twice in injury time to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 and so take the title on goal difference.
Ferguson has already been linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa and striker Robert Lewandowski and for all the talk of being outspent by a City side owned by Abu Dhabi-based Sheikh Mansour, United defender Evra is confident Old Trafford remains an attractive destination for top players.
“I am not crazy,” said the France full-back. “I won't say that we've had a good season or we'll be okay.
“Every player has to be better next season than we were this year, even if we haven't been as poor as a lot of people say.
“Fans will want to see a few new players and I trust totally in the boss. He will do the right thing.
“There aren't many players who can play for Manchester United and I know the boss will make the best decision.”
The real question is how good is this current United squad.
Evra, reflecting on a trophyless season at Old Trafford, albeit one where they piled up 89 league points, said: “Every year people criticise United. People say we've had the worst season ever if we don't win the league.
“This is not the truth. The season we've just finished has been a miracle. People were saying it was going to be the worst season but we are nine points better off than last year and we've scored more goals.
“We only think we've failed because we haven't won.
“Winning is the Manchester United spirit, it's the Manchester United way. It doesn't matter if you've only got one leg, you have to win. If I played for another team then maybe we'd say well done for coming second.”
However, Evra said United – who a few weeks ago were eight points clear at the top – had let their attitude slip when they recently dropped points against Wigan, Everton and Manchester City.
“We played those games in the same way we played the group stages of the Champions League,” he said.
“We thought everything would be fine. We were eight points clear, then it was five points, then three. All the time we were saying to ourselves, 'It will be okay: we are Manchester United'.”
Evra's season was an impressive feat of endurance as he was more involved than any other United player, starting every league game other than the first, away to West Brom in August.
“I was surprised,” he said.
“It's a lot of games and a lot of stress on my body, but the only thing I want to do now is play with more quality.
“I am proud to play a lot of games but I've put myself in trouble.
“If I start to play fewer people will say I am old and should retire Äand I am scared to do that.” – Sapa-AFP