Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Fergie: Jonny is a giant for us

Jonny Evans

Northern Ireland star Jonny Evans was today hailed as a “giant” by Sir Alex Ferguson following Manchester United’s stunning 3-0 victory over Chelsea.

The clash of the titans at Old Trafford was supposed to be a tight affair but United blew the visitors away with Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Dimiatr Berbatov all on target while at the other end Evans excelled.

The Northern Ireland defender sure does enjoy playing Chelsea. Earlier in the season he produced a solid display as United drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge.

He was perhaps a surprise choice then, but now he is playing so confidently that he is close to being an automatic choice, even when Rio Ferdinand is fit.

Evans was up against powerhouse Didier Drogba yesterday with the Ivory Coast striker the loser of their particular battle.

"He was marvellous," said Ferguson talking about 21-year-old Evans.

"For a young boy, 21 only a week ago, he was absolutely superb. His reading of the game, his use of the ball, he was a giant like many of our players. I was very pleased for the boy."

Vidic agreed with that assessment.

He said: "I think the whole team was good, but I think Jonny did very well. We didn’t lose a goal, which for defenders is a great thing."

Evans is likely to keep his place for Wednesday’s home game with Wigan.

A win for United would take them ahead of Chelsea and just two points behind Liverpool.

United could then go top at the weekend by winning at Bolton as Liverpool don’t play again until Monday night, against Everton.

Ferguson decided not to give full vent to his anger at Rafael Benitez's amazing personal attack on Friday - for now the United boss is happy to let his team do the talking.

"There was a lot of venom in what he has said," reflected Ferguson.

"I don't understand where it has come from.

"He is obviously disturbed about something. When he reflects on it he must realise what a ridiculous thing he is saying.

"But all I want to do is focus on my own team. If we can do that we have a big chance."

United could have actually won by more, but for a controversial decision to rule out a Cristiano Ronaldo header just before Vidic struck, the officials deciding Rooney had not taken his audacious corner correctly before Ryan Giggs crossed.

"The linesman got it wrong," argued Rooney.

"I didn't see a problem with it, it is something we practice in training."

Ferguson was equally non-plussed, although Vidic's goal seconds later ensured there were no complaints from United.

On the title race, Rooney claimed it might have been a pivotal weekend.

He said: "After watching Liverpool draw on Saturday, we got exactly the result we needed. If we do our jobs right and win our two games we could be top of the league on Saturday.”