Evra: Losing to Barça is painful
Manchester United's players got a tour of the White House this afternoon, but it is another familiar picture Patrice Evra wants to erase from his memory.
The final game of United's five-match tour of the United States comes on Saturday, when they take on a Barcelona side that only nine weeks ago dismantled them in the UEFA Champions League final. It was the second time in three years the Catalans had left Sir Alex Ferguson's men trailing in their wake, not an experience Evra enjoyed too much.
While Evra accepts this weekend's friendly will have none of the stardust of Wembley or Rome, rather than shy away from the Catalans, the full-back is hoping it will serve as a warm-up for another titanic duel between the pair in Munich at the end of the upcoming campaign.
"I give Barcelona a lot of respect, but I'd like to play against them again in the Champions League final and win," said Evra. "I have already lost to them twice and it's very painful. At the moment they are the best team in the world, which is difficult for us to accept because that is what we want to be."
Lionel Messi will be missing Saturday's contest as the Argentinian is still recovering from his Copa America exertions. In contrast to their opponents, who arrived overnight from Munich, where they lifted the Audi Cup, United are ready for home, where they will be reunited with Antonio Valencia.
Sent back to Carrington for treatment on an ankle injury he sustained on international duty for Ecuador, Valencia appears to have recovered sufficiently to be involved in United's Premier League opener at West Brom on 14 August.
"Antonio's training now," said Ferguson. "He has been cleared and training for a week now. We expect him to be back for the start of the season."
However, the same cannot be said for Javier Hernandez. The Mexican striker has been ruled out for a fortnight after sustaining concussion during training ahead of Wednesday's win over Major League Soccer's All-Stars.
The injury means Hernandez will sit out the Community Shield encounter with Manchester City on 7 August and his country's encounter with the United States three days later. Happily though, Ferguson is convinced there is no long-term damage.
"He was hit on the top of the head with the ball in the early evening," Ferguson said of Hernandez's injury. "When he was back at the hotel taking his meal he was sick. He had headaches, so we removed him to the hospital where he stayed in overnight. They did the MRI scans, released him yesterday and he travelled down today.
"Concussion is something you don't want to happen, but usually time heals it and we'll give Javier plenty of that. We won't be rushing him back. I'll only bring him back when the doctor tells me I can."