Cavani's trophy hunt
In this exclusive interview, Edinson Cavani talks about his winning mentality and Marcus Rashford's penalty in Paris...
*In Paris, you played wit some unbelievable forwards. Lavezzi, Ibrahimovic, Neymar, Mbappe. What were their individual strengths and what did you learn from playing with them?* “Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to have played alongside some great footballers. And when you play with top players, it allowed you to grow and improve. I’ve always had that desire to improve and develop my game and to take things from one player or another. If I were to start list each of their attributes, I reckon it would be an awfully long interview because they all ave their own individual qualities but I’ve said on many occasions… You had a player like Zlatan who was highly competitive. He was always up for the fifth and he really hated to lose. None of us like losing but he has always shown that even more than most, through his character and ow he is. I played with Newmar also, as well as with Kylian. Everyone knows about Neymar don’t they, he has magic in his feet. Kylian has huge skill and technique as well as great pace. They are really top class players. And you really enjoy lining up alongside guys like that. Of course, their qualities and attributes were different to mine and we had different personalities too, which is fine. But it’s something you enjoy and I really think it’s always an honour to play with great footballers.” *What were your memories of Marcus Rashford’s penalty at the Parc des Princes a couple of seasons ago and what has it been like to play with Marcus, Antony and Mason?* “Well, I had to watch that moment from the sideline as I was on the bench at the time when Marcus Rashford took that penalty in the Parc des Princes. Those are the kind of moments that you have to use in the future to become even stronger and to grow as a player. To feel that there’s nothing better when you can feel the competitive spirit inside you, the desire to performa at your best. I believe that those big moments, those special occasions, are the ones that leave their mark on you and enable you to grow. It’s a demonstration of character. I don’t know whether or not the manager had given instructions for him to take the penalty or if it was his job to take them or whether he just picked up the ball and aid ‘I’m taking it’ ahead of someone else. I couldn’t tell you as that was part of what goes on internally here. Seriously, to take a penalty at a moment like that is a real show of bravery and commitment to then cause, which in this case was the team and taking them forward and into the next round. And moving on to my time here now, and being a part of this team, where it was to be at PSG once again, but with me on his side now and then off to Paris. United put in another great performance and Marcus contributed with a very important goal which came at a key time in the game and again showed his character. Now I get to experience the club at closer quarters, and to share a dressing room wit these players, these forwards and these young players. I love it and I’m excited by it. Being honest, as someone who is a bit older, there are things that you notice that maybe they, as young players don’t quite see yet. Just normal everyday football things. I’m here to give the best I can give of myself and to occasionally offer my opinion on things. But these lads are great footballers, and as I mentioned earlier, it just depends on how much they want to have success and ow much desire they have and how hard they work to achieve their success. *Having won so many major honours with PSG, you know all about developing a winning culture. You’ve been at the club for less tan six months now but ow close are United to having that culture?* “United have a lot of good players at the club and players with a lot of experience too. Guys who have won titles and have experienced big moments like that. They have benefited from sharing dressing rooms with great footballers and with great squads and teams. So, I believe that they know perfectly well what winning titles is all about. For sure you always get times when sides are rebuilt and strengthened for the future as you start to see a new generation of young players coming through. Then work begins on building a new squad and a team, and on the basis of this you are able to grow and improve. I think that your winning mentality always comes form the work you put in on a day-to-day basis. Wanting to surpass yourself every day, wanting to prepare yourself to face up to difficult situations and when tings get tough. I think that these are tings that you can work on. Even though each individual’s personality, to a greater or lesser extend, can enter into it too, I think it is something that you can work on and which depends on your individual mental ability yo face up to certain things. That’s why I say that there are so many good footballers here, who are young and who have time to keep on improving and growing as players. But that will now depend on if we are aware and confident that we can go on to achieve and win things. I think that’s the best way to achieve those targets. But knowing also tat we are all dependent upon each other and that we need everything from everybody. I believe that is the way to always maintain a competitive mentality. Things in turn might go well or they might go badly, but that you must never give up is that desire to compete and to give everything for your team-mate and for the team. This then allows you to keep your concentration and to be fully focused and disciplined on the field. So, I would ask how close we hare to achieving success, and I’d say we’re as close as we want to be. We can decide exactly what our target is and what is pithing our reach. And that can be what drives us on to achieve it. If we have 80 per cent of then group who maybe aren’t committed in the sets tat they’re not absolutely convinced we can win trophies ten it’s going to be much more difficult, almost impossible. But if we’re all convinced that we can achieve what we want to with the right amount of concentration and the determination that we need to have, we can do it. That’s why I say it depends on us, it depends on how much we want to succeed.”