Sir Alex Ferguson and Patrice Evra holding the Premier League trophy.

Evra: Sir Alex taught me that winning is normal

Sunday 03 May 2020 22:30

Patrice Evra has praised Sir Alex Ferguson’s winning mentality, and has given an insight into the Scot's incredibly high standards , during the new UTD Podcast out on Monday.

Sir Alex's constant demand for excellence during his reign as Manchester United manager was a pivotal factor in Evra accumulating five Premier League winners’ medals while at Old Trafford, as well as winning the League Cup on three occasions and the Champions League in 2008.

While the former full-back admitted the thrill of collecting silverware did lessen during his Reds career, he said that winning his first league title in 2006/07 was an unforgettable experience.

“I was like a kid,” admitted Patrice. “I remember I was in Mikael Silvestre’s house and we were watching a game - I think it was Chelsea and when they lost, we were champions

"I started jumping around, and Mikael was looking at me thinking, ‘What is he doing?’. Because he’d already won four leagues and I was screaming and he told me to calm down. I think your first one is so amazing.
Watch a short video clip of Evra recording his must-listen podcast.
“I’ll be honest, when you start winning the third one, the fourth and the fifth, you celebrate but not the same way,” he continued.

“You celebrate because of the cameras and stuff, but it’s not the same. Ferguson taught us all to be like a robot. I don’t think I was a human being playing for Manchester United. When we won games, when I was doing something good, I wasn’t pleased. For me, it was something normal.
“I always say that [Didier] Deschamps taught me winning is important, but Ferguson taught me that winning is normal. I remember after big wins against Liverpool, he just said, ‘Well done, son’. He was never screaming, apart from when we won the Champions League final.”
Even after one of our greatest-ever triumphs, Sir Alex was still trying to motivate his players for the following campaign, as Patrice recounted in a tale about returning from Moscow in 2008.

Patrice recalled: "Ferguson took the microphone and he said, 'Well done guys, I’m really proud of you. We won the league and the Champions League, but next year if someone doesn’t want to win again, I will cut his contract. Enjoy your summer with your national team and I don’t wish you good luck’.

“I remember I came home, I dropped my bag and was thinking ‘this is the feeling to win the Champions League?’. But actually, winning was normal and you shouldn’t be excited about that.”
Winning trophies is, of course, a tradition at United that pre-dates Sir Alex's tenure, and the club’s history was not lost on Patrice during his time at the Theatre of Dreams.

“Every time I was shaking the hands of Sir Bobby Charlton, I felt something. And every time I saw him on the plane, travelling with us, when I know what's happening with all his ex-team-mates, I was like, 'This person is a miracle’.
Patrice has the utmost respect for Sir Bobby Charlton and United's history.
“But maybe some kids... and it's not an excuse, even if they are like six, seven... when they play for this club they need to know every person working for this club, and this is really important. You don't have any excuse. Just watch some DVDs like I did. And it's really important.
“So every time I was putting this shirt on, and I know how many people have worn this shirt and won [trophies]. Respect this tradition, the philosophy. I was like, ‘I can't let down those people’. When you play for Manchester United, it's not for you. You don't use Manchester United, and because you're a United player so you're famous, you're on social media. You play for United because you have to give to those people [the fans].
“I give you one example: once when we were in pre-season, and before we came on the bus, we were really tired, I'll be honest with you, and there was a queue of fans. And the players were like: ‘When no one signs, no one has to sign’.
Watch another video clip as Evra recalls a time when Sir Alex blasted the players.
“So we went straight to the bus, every one of us, and I looked out of the window and I saw Sir Alex Ferguson signing each autograph. I swear he must have signed for like 45 minutes. He was signing [for] everyone. I say ,'Guys, when the boss comes on the bus, we are done.' 

“He came on the bus, he gave us the hairdryer. 'Who the hell do you think you are?! Those people are paying your salary. Those people are coming to watch you. Now get down there and sign.' And we had to sign for each fan. But that's the mentality.”

To hear every story from Patrice’s amazing UTD Podcast, make sure you listen to the entire 90-minute episode. It's available from 17:00 BST on Monday via Deezer and other podcast providers.