Evra hoping for Tevez reunion
Patrice Evra is ready to join in the booing of Carlos Tevez if his good friend turns out in Sunday's Manchester derby. The Argentinian forward is a major doubt for the eagerly-anticipated showdown between United and City at Old Trafford.
With both clubs currently in the Premier League's top four, and City riding the crest of a wave created by their £120m summer spending spree, there would have been more interest on both sides of the city, even without Tevez's controversial move from red to blue. Despite the South American's change of allegiance, the friendship Evra struck up with him remains.
But, acknowledging the reception Tevez is likely to get if he does recover from a knee injury, the France left-back is only going to make it worse. "I have been joking with him about the reception he will get," said Evra.
"I don't know if the fans will boo him or clap him. He did a great job at Manchester United. He respected the shirt and the fans understand that. But if they boo him I will join in."
As usual, Evra's comments are delivered with a beaming smile. There has been plenty of laughter between the pair, who formed a somewhat unlikely alliance with Park Ji-Sung during their time together at United, as they contemplated Sunday's game, the first time in almost 40 years the two clubs have met on almost equal footing.
It is clear, despite reaching two UEFA Champions League finals and winning a couple of league titles during his 'loan' spell with United, Tevez is now firmly in the blue camp. "I have had a message from him saying they are going to win," said Evra.
"I am not so sure. I just hope he plays. It will be special to play against him because he is such a good friend. But he is a City player now and we cannot let him beat Manchester United."
Evra may not be a Mancunian but he has been around the city long enough to understand the passion each set of supporters has for their club. And he could hardly not be aware of the jaw-dropping impact the Abu Dhabi United Group have had at Eastlands since they bought the club just over a year ago.
It is why Evra is not alone in believing that match will have more spice than has been the case for a number of years. "The game is more special this season," he said. "When we have played them before they have never been in the top four.
"This year it is a big mission of City's to play in the Champions League. They have not lost yet, so they will come to Old Trafford with a lot of confidence. It will be an amazing game and it is a big challenge. I hope we are ready."
Sir Alex Ferguson certainly has plenty of options. Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Darren Fletcher and John O'Shea were among those not required to change out of their suits last night, while Wayne Rooney might not have been too happy to sit out the final half hour of United's 1-0 win over Besiktas, but Ferguson knows he will be fresh for battle.
And, one thing that should not be much of a surprise given United's experience on the banks of the Bosphorus is the atmosphere. Sir Alex Ferguson described the noise made by the Besiktas fans as the loudest he has experienced in his long career.
Evra is not about to disagree. "It was an amazing atmosphere," he said. "At the end I clapped the supporters because the noise was just incredible.
"If you are not excited to play a game like that you never will be. This wall of noise was there from the moment we began our warm-up right until the final whistle."