Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Evra: We Won't Let Rivals Distract Bid

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Evra: We Won't Let Rivals Distract Bid

Article excerpt

PATRICE Evra insists Manchester United have learned their lesson and plan to ignore what Manchester City get up to this season.

The Red Devils' 2-1 win over Liverpool on Sunday briefly took them 10 points ahead of City, who responded by beating Arsenal at the Emirates to close the gab back down to seven.

City hunted down eight pointsd in the space of four matches at the end of last season to secure their first title since 1968 and deprive their cross-city rivals of their 20th.

Yet the feeling at Old Trafford remains that the wound was self-inflicted, caused by too much attention being wasted on what was happening down the road.

And this time, with a squad Evra believes is stronger following the arrival of 21-goal Robin van Persie, the France fullback is confident the Red Devils will avoid similar calamity.

"This year we are focusing more on ourselves whereas last year we were more worried about City," Evra said.

"There was too much focus on what they were going to do in their next game.

"But this year it's about us. By having a good season, we will become the champions.

"We finished last season with the same number of points as the champions and it is obvious we are stronger than last year given the addition of players like Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa."

With 55 points from their first 22 games, Manchester United have created a Premier League record, failing to win only four games.

Since their defeat at Norwich on November 17, they have won nine out of 10 games, drawing the other one.

Crucially, Van Persie has made a goalscoring contribution on nine occasions, underlining why City boss Roberto Mancini is not alone in believing the Dutchman will be the difference at the top this season.

Not that he is the only goal threat from the Old Trafford outfit.

Depending on how their second goal on Sunday is viewed, Sir Alex Ferguson's squad either have 18 goalscorers in their midst, with Nemanja Vidic the latest addition, or Evra has five, not bad to say he only scored three times in his first six and a half years. …

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