Sir Alex Ferguson’s men were certainly not afforded an easy ride in the first match as 2012/13 Barclays Premier League champions, but neither did the Reds fail to rise to the challenge – and the United boss expects the same in the remaining three games of the campaign.
Arsenal got stuck into United at the Emirates on Sunday but the Reds fought back to earn a 1-1 draw, and in doing so reasserted Sir Alex’s claim that his side would not step off the gas on what amounts to a four-match victory parade.
“We’ve got Chelsea next week and they’re fighting for a Champions League place,” he told MUTV. “We’ve got to honour the rest of the teams that are trying to get there.
“Nobody could say that we relaxed too much [at Arsenal]. We showed good aggression again in the second half in particular and with a bit more composure in front of goal I thought we could have won the game.”
Reds left-back Patrice Evra thought United did well to recover after falling into an initial champions’ malaise in the opening 20 minutes in North London, which saw United fall behind to a Theo Walcott goal in the second minute.
“I’m frustrated,” said Patrice. “We wanted to win the game and we had more chances than Arsenal. I don’t think we started well though. We were sleeping a little bit after being champions last week. But in the end we showed character. We were professional and we definitely played to win the game. That’s why everyone was angry at half time. We really wanted to win and I think we created more chances and deserved to win.
“A lot of people expected to see Manchester United not playing well because we have already won the title,” adds Evra. “That is not the mentality of Manchester United. We want to win every game. Even pre-season friendlies are important. If we lost at Arsenal, people would not say we lost because we have already won the league. They would just talk about us losing.
“It is important for us to win. It was a big game for us and people might laugh when I say that, but that is the Manchester United culture. We always want to win, even if we