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Leader of the pack

Manchester United manager David Moyes has branded Patrice Evra one of the finest leaders he has ever come across.

Evra spoke with passion following Wednesday's League Cup win over Stoke, laying bare his desire for United to click into top gear following their ropey start to the Premier League campaign, while at the same time acknowledging the pressures that come with being a player at Old Trafford.


The full-back has also been an inspiration with France as both Franck Ribery and Yohan Cabaye have testified already this season.

Moyes has also noticed what a powerful presence Evra is at Old Trafford, and what a galvanising impact he has on the dressing room.

"Patrice is one of the finest leaders around the dressing room that I have ever seen," said Moyes.

"He speaks well in everything he does and the way he speaks about the club is great.

"He is inspirational behind the scenes and reminds all the boys what their jobs and duties are.

"He knows we have to have a strong Manchester United.

"He demands. He doesn't think winning one game is it. He is saying 'no, we need to win all the games'.

"He is great for me and obviously he has been great for the team because he has been a really top player for a long time now."

Yet it did seem Evra was surplus to requirements in the summer when Moyes went back to Everton for Leighton Baines.

When Moyes finally accepted defeat on transfer deadline day, he launched an attempt to capture Fabio Coentrao on loan from Real Madrid.

Even though that move failed, it seemed Evra's time at United was drawing to a close.

Yet, Moyes insisted, Evra was told what the new manager was trying to do, and supported it completely.


"Pat was fully aware of what we were doing and he was for it," said Moyes.

"He said we always have to have competition at Manchester United; we always have to be getting better. Plus, he said I had to make sure I did what is right for the football club."

Evra has featured in all but one league game this season, five out of six in the Champions League and scored at the Britannia Stadium in midweek, as United booked a semi-final date with Sunderland.

And it is likely he will feature heavily in a festive programme that starts for United with a home game against West Ham, when they look to avoid losing three league matches on the trot at Old Trafford for the first time since 1979.

Evra highlighted a growing fear factor earlier this week.

However, on this subject, Moyes is in disagreement with the former Monaco man.

"The results have not been what we wanted," said Moyes.

"Because of that, words like nervy, vulnerability, anxious all come to mind.

"But I have never personally found that. The fans have backed the team.

"They know we need to play better and we need to score some more goals, but it has not been for the want of trying."

United will definitely be without Nani, who has joined an already lengthy injury list, with Moyes confirming the Portugal international will be out "for a few weeks" with a hamstring problem.

In contrast, Wayne Rooney "has a chance" of recovering from the groin strain that kept him out of the Stoke trip.

It is the start of a four-match period when United will hope to improve their fortunes.


For some, it represents too much football.

Yet Moyes remembers a time when it was even worse.

"I remember the days when it was quite often two games in two days," said the Scot.

"I played in situations like that. We are complaining now because it is two in three days, but we are used to playing at Christmas in our country."