It has been a roller coaster season at Old Trafford but one player will have experienced this more than most, Patrice Evra.
With more appearances than any other player this season, the defender saw it all: The highs of the 8-2 against Arsenal, the lows of the 6-1 against City as well as the nail biting wait for the final whistle at the Etihad on the final day, Evra experienced it all.
But it wasn’t just that, the Frenchman was caught up in a tumultuous race row with Liverpool’s Luis Suarez that gripped the footballing world.
Despite comments and gestures from Liverpool and Suarez, Evra remained silent but with the season over he has lifted the lid on how the episode made this the most difficult season of his long career:
“The whole thing was so difficult.
“People thought my celebration at the end of the Liverpool game was because Suarez had abused me, but it was more than that.
“I wanted say thanks to my team-mates. I know everybody was playing to win for Manchester United, but it was also a little bit for me.
“That game was the most pressure I’ve ever felt in my life – and all to do with shaking his hand.
“It was very difficult to decide what to do before.
“Many people would never try to shake his hand. But I tried and he refused. “For me, it was like, ‘What’s going on?’”
Losing the title in the manner United did will also have played a part in how Evra reflects back on this season, but back in October he suffered a bereavement that makes football pale in significance:
“What’s happened to me this year, personal things, have been really tough.
“I know people will think I’m only saying this because we’ve lost the title but this is the most difficult season I’ve ever had for Manchester United.
“Before the game against City in October, my dad called to tell me I’d just lost my brother. Nothing can be more difficult than that to find out before a big game.”
With that in mind, you have to respect Patrice Evra’s contributions to our efforts. Evra can always be found with an encouraging comment to say and is already speaking on United recapturing the title from Man City.
Hopefully next season is an easier one for him.