Evra suggests Premier League title ‘can save season’
Patrice Evra has said Manchester United must win the Premier League in order to salvage their season after being knocked out of the Europa League.
In what was a miserable night for both Manchester clubs, United crashed out of Europe altogether on Thursday following another devastating display by Athletic Bilbao in their last-16 Europa League tie.
Last season’s Champions League finalists were beaten 5-3 on aggregate by Athletic Bilbao to exit the competition at the last-16 stage and having overhauled rivals Manchester City to top the Premier League, the pressure is now on for United to win silverware.
“If we want to save the season we have to win the league,” Evra told the BBC.
“If we don’t win the league, it will be a really bad season.”
United face Wolves at Molineux on Sunday as they refocus on their league challenge but against a lively Bilbao side, Sir Alex Ferguson’s team were given a footballing lesson as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat on the night thanks to goals from Fernando Llorente and Oscar de Marcos.
Evra said he was not concerned by his team’s league form but could not explain why United had not shown the same ‘resilience’ and ‘fighting spirit’ in Europe this season.
“It’s been a disaster in the Champions League and in the Europa League now I think we have to tell the truth – we deserved to go out because we never played with the same desire as when we play in the league,” the acting captain added.
“We can see the difference in the league. We are top of the league and we are more focused [but] I don’t know why.”
His manager was not prepared to see a European exit as offering any assistance to the title run-in: “It’s not a sense of relief [to go out] because there are still 10 games to play in the league.
“It’s disappointing more than anything that we haven’t progressed in the Champions League and we are out of the Europa League now.”
On the result, Ferguson added: “I don’t think we can complain. In the first half we gave away a really soft goal. That was the last thing we wanted and I can’t believe we lost a goal like that, it was really poor.
“At the start of the second half they did really well and could have scored two or three more goals.
“We did better later on but nowhere near enough to win.”
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