Patrice Evra acknowledges that this has been a transitional season at Manchester United, but insists he and his team-mates are firmly behind David Moyes.
Having delivered two UEFA Champions Leagues and 13 Premier League titles during an astonishing 26-year reign at the club, Sir Alex Ferguson finally bowed out of Old Trafford at the end of last season. By this time it was already known that Moyes, then of Everton, would succeed his fellow Scot, having impressed during him time on Merseyside.
A victory of Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium was followed by an opening day 4-1 win at Swansea City, and it appeared as though it was business as usual in the red half of Manchester. However, it has transpired into United’s most difficult campaign for two decades, as they face a season of huge disappointment.
Out of both domestic cup competitions by January, the Reds have already lost eight times in the league, including some rare home defeats, and they are now in sixth position and some 15 points behind leaders Chelsea. Worse still, they are 11 points behind Liverpool in the race to qualify for the Champions League, a competition they look likely to exit next month following the 2-0 first leg defeat at Olympiakos in the last 16 on Tuesday.
All this has piled the pressure on Moyes, with some pundits and an increasing number of United fans now questioning his ability to follow in the footsteps of Ferguson. But whilst Evra admits this has been a disappointing season at Old Trafford, he insists he and his team-mates remain fully supportive of the former Goodison Park boss.
“There was a big change, it must be digested – nobody likes change,” Evra, who has been in Manchester since January 2006 and has played a key role in much of the success since, told RMC. “The team played for over 26 years with Sir Alex Ferguson. We are behind the new manager, we will do everything to qualify for the next Champions League.”
The France international, meanwhile, is out of contract in the summer, just as two more members of a famous back four. Rio Ferdinand is also expected to quit United, whilst fellow centre-half Nemanja Vidic has already announced he will leave for a fresh challenge. On his own future, Evra added: “I love Manchester. When my love will be broken in Manchester, I will study the possibilities. But my love will not change for the club.”
United must now wait until next weekend to get defeat in Athens out of their system. Evra and his pals travel to West Bromwich Albion on 8 March, the scene of that dramatic 5-5 draw on the final game of last season, which saw Ferguson bow out in style. A share of the spoils this time, even in such dramatic fashion, would do little for Moyes.