03.11.2016 18:30 - in: Serie A S

      Evra: “Season a marathon not a sprint”

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      “I ask the fans to get behind us all the way and to judge us next summer. In the end we’ll be celebrating together.”

      As the dust settles on Wednesday night’s draw at home to Lyon in the Champions League, the temptation is often there to think of what might have been, but the Bianconeri are already looking forwards to the fixtures that lie ahead and the opportunities to make their end-of-season objectives a reality.

      At the age of 35 and following trophy-laden years in England and Italy, Patrice Evra has seen it all before and the French full-back explained in today’s interview with Sky Sport why Juventus fans should still be confident of celebrating silverware at the end of the current campaign.

      European aims intact

      “Every one of us would like to have qualified already for the Champions League knockout stages. Yesterday’s draw isn’t the result we wanted, but what matters most is that we can still reach the last 16 and do so as group winners.

      “We need to beat Sevilla and Dinamo Zagreb to show that we can excel in this competition. We’re taking each game at a time, but I’m convinced that we’ll get out of the group.”

      Winning what matters

      “At Juventus victories are the most important thing. We can’t always be winning 3-0, not even in Serie A. To think like that would be to show a lack of respect to the Italian league. I’ve played before in England and France, but I still maintain that the Serie A is an extremely difficult division.

      “I’m calm and in good spirits because our objective is that of lifting the league title while trying to win the Champions League and we’ve got what it takes to do that.”

      Season a marathon not a sprint

      “Lots of new players have joined us this year and we’ve only had three months since the start of the season. Many of them need more time to get used to the Juventus way as well as the expectations of what’s required from you when you wear this shirt.

      “I know what it means to play under pressure from my days at Manchester United, but even I took a little while to adapt here when I arrived. As Max (Allegri) said yesterday, though, titles aren’t won at this stage of the season. I agree, we can play much better than we have been. Even after a win, we work hard in training on the things that didn’t go completely to plan. We want to improve.

      “You don’t create a really strong team in just three months, so I ask the fans to get behind us all the way and to judge us at the end when, and I’m sure of this, they can celebrate together with us.”

      Focus on the present

      “I’ve always told the boss that I’ll rest only once I’ve finished my career. I’d obviously like to play all the matches because I feel in good enough shape to be able to, but I’m not stupid and I know that at a certain age you need to focus more on the quality than the quantity of your performances.

      “My desire to get on the pitch is so great that I’d even play as goalkeeper, even if I don’t want to take Gigi’s place in the side!

      “When I return home I don’t look at my winners' medals, nor my past, but I focus on the future and every day I look to prove to myself that I’ve got what it takes to wear this shirt.

      “I like to have a laugh and joke on my Instagram page, but when it’s time to get serious, the only option is to knuckle down and work hard. This is my philosophy in life.”

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