30.12.2015 16:15 - in: The team S

    Evra sets sights on successful 2016

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    Patrice Evra underlines his determination to help Juventus achieve their goals in the second half of the season

    Experience, leadership, talent and charisma are all words that can be attributed to Patrice Evra, but there’s one more trait that has made the Frenchman the successful footballer that he has been over the past decade with Manchester United and more recently Juventus: unwavering ambition.

    A burning desire to win silverware has characterised the 34-year-old’s highly distinguished career and the left-back has in no way lost the hunger for further triumphs in the future, starting with this current Serie A campaign.

    Despite making a slow start to the season, the Bianconeri’s seven-match winning streak in the league has propelled them to within just three points of table-topping Inter, and Evra stressed the need to carry this momentum into the New Year.

    Speaking to Sky and Mediaset, he began: “We’re heading in the right direction. We all need to show the utmost dedication and cooperation as a team. Our objective will have been reached only once we’re crowned champions of Italy for a fifth consecutive year. This has been my view ever since the start of the season, even when things were not going well.

    “This does not mean, however, that Juventus is the favourite for the title, but I’ve always kept the belief that we could achieve our goals. It’s no good panicking when things go badly, nor to be overwhelmed by enthusiasm when they go well. We’ve emerged from a difficult period, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.”

    When Juventus fell to a fourth reverse in their opening ten league matches on 28 October away to Sassuolo, Evra explained how honest discussions held in the changing rooms afterwards helped set the team on their way to a much brighter couple of months, in which they also sealed their path to the Champions League knockout stages and completed an early double over cross-city rivals Torino to reach the Coppa Italia quarter-finals.

    “We had a very up-front conversation, in which we ruled out making any excuses for our situation and spoke seriously about what it means to play for this shirt and this club. We stayed united as a family to get out of trouble and we’re extremely motivated to show ourselves, the coaching staff and the fans that we’ve the right level of character in order to continue on this run that we’re on.

    “The real Juve is one which wins championships. We can achieve great things this year too, but we’ve got to keep our heads down and work hard, because this is the time when you can risk losing points in the last minute of games.”

    Turning his attentions to the Bianconeri’s mouth-watering Champions League date with Bayern Munich, Evra stressed that he and his team-mates would have to dig deep once again in order to reap the potential rewards of a last-eight berth in the spring.

    “If we are to get past Bayern, we need to play the way this club is famous for. Last year after the Dortmund match, I said that we would reach the final. People laughed at me, but I always believed we would get there based upon how well organised we were.

    “Juventus has always been a very difficult side to beat and Bayern won’t be happy to be facing us. It will be an interesting tie, which pits two very different styles of play against one another. In the end, however, the hard work will hopefully pay off.”

    Wrapping up the interview, Evra spared a word for his charity engagements in the country of his birth, Senegal, where he has been working with three orphanages since 2012 in collaboration with UNICEF.

    Upon visiting the Dakar-based project over the festive period, the France international concluded: “We started with 20 children and now we have 500. I can’t thank God enough for giving me the opportunity to help these very deprived young people, so that they can play football, go to school, eat and sleep properly. I’m still full with emotion and these were definitely the best holidays of my life.”

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