Buttner: We relish a challenge
Manchester United defender Alexander Buttner believes he and Patrice Evra brought the best out of each other last season.
The 24-year-old turned out to be one of Sir Alex Ferguson's final signings as United manager when he shelled out £4million to lure him to England from progressive Dutch outfit Vitesse last summer.
Though Buttner spent long periods on the sidelines, he still managed 13 appearances and Ferguson made sure he received a Premier League title medal in recognition of his overall contribution.
Yet Buttner's impact may have gone beyond his own performances - it is acknowledged by most United observers that Evra stepped up considerably on his displays in the previous season.
"Manchester United need two good left-backs," said Buttner. "I put pressure on Patrice because I did well when I played. But Patrice did well also. That is the way it works at United, you put pressure on each other."
Buttner admits it took him some time to get used to his new surroundings, but now he is loving life at Old Trafford, featuring extensively on the club's pre-season tour, and played the full second half in Monday night's 5-2 win over Kitchee FC in Hong Kong.
"The first few months were difficult for me," said Buttner. "I had to settle in. But I think I did very well.
"I played 13 games for this team. That is good. This season my target is to play more games. I want to go for the left-back position."
Yet Buttner's battle with Evra is threatened by the speculation about a move for Everton's Leighton Baines.
It has previously been stated even if Baines arrived, Evra would be going nowhere despite the obvious issue of having two top-class international players battling for a single first-team slot, but Buttner is not concerned about the rumours.
He feels he has done enough to remain where he is, no matter who comes in.
"The speculation doesn't bother me," he said. "I hear the name Baines but for me I don't care.
"I want to play my own game. If he comes I don't think my future will be in danger.
"I just want to be strong and let the trainer see what I have got. I don't think about other players, just myself."