Jonny Evans: Man United aren’t daunted by Real Madrid test
Manchester United defender Jonny Evans says the Red Devils aren't daunted by the prospect of facing Real Madrid at the Bernabeu
Jonny Evans insists that Manchester United are not daunted by the prospect of facing Real Madrid ahead of the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.
The Red Devils are currently top of the Premier League by 12 points, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have been unconvincing in Europe this season.
United have not beaten Madrid over two legs in Europe since 1968 – losing in 2000 and 2003 – but Evans is adamant the Red Devils, like Los Blancos, possess the fear factor.
“We can’t be daunted,” said Evans. “We are Manchester United. Teams look up to us as well.
“I am sure the same pressures will be on them. They have good players who can hurt you but we play against Premier League opposition every week and that is one of the best leagues in the world.”
The Northern Ireland international has never played at the Bernabeu previously, but the 25-year-old has been a spectator at Madrid’s home ground during his teenage days.
“I was about 15,” he added. “The Galacticos were playing and I remember thinking what a fantastic stadium it was.
“The atmosphere was superb and I am sure it will be something similar. Those are the nights you relish, although it is a weird feeling. We probably take it for granted and don’t get to appreciate it at the time.”
Real Madrid v Man United: Pre-match facts
• Cristiano Ronaldo spent six seasons with United between 2003 and 2009. He scored 118 goals in 292 games, winning one Champions League and three Premier League titles, as well as one FA Cup and two League Cups.
• The sight of Ronaldo facing United for the first time since his departure adds another layer of intrigue to a contest pairing clubs who have met in four previous European Cup ties – with the winners going on to lift the trophy on three occasions.
• Madrid came out on top in three of the clubs’ four previous encounters – in the semi-finals in 1956-57 and quarter-finals in 1999-2000 and 2002-03 – with United prevailing in the 1967/-8 semi-finals.
• Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho are two of only four coaches to reach a century of Champions League games, along with Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti.