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Evra can't wait to tackle Messi

Patrice Evra admits he has been scared by Sir Alex Ferguson in the past but is relishing the chance to carry out a key role for the Manchester United manager in Wednesday's Champions League final.

sports Updated: May 24, 2009 19:20 IST

Patrice Evra admits he has been scared by Sir Alex Ferguson in the past but is relishing the chance to carry out a key role for the Manchester United manager in Wednesday's Champions League final.

The France left-back will again be tasked with nullifying Barcelona dangerman Lionel Messi at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.
It was a job he managed faultlessly as United progressed past the Spanish champions in last year's semi-final.

Evra, 28, insists there is no special preparation for facing the Argentina winger, but feels that facing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney in training is the right preparation.

"Messi is a great player. I might stop him 10 times, but if on the 11th he goes past me and scores, people will say I have played badly against him," Evra said.

"I need to concentrate for all the game and win every challenge. Last year the boss told me I could win the game for United. I was very proud about that.

"The boss trusts you but he likes to say things that will give you confidence. I don't want to disappoint him or my team-mates."

Evra has become one of the best left-backs in the world since joining from Monaco in January 2006 and Ferguson has no doubt that the Frenchman is the man to cancel Messi out.

The United manager said: "When we played them last year we had to depend on the form of Patrice Evra and we're going to depend on that again.

"Patrice is a fantastic footballer, so quick. You need that against Messi because he's so quick himself."

United players maintain that Ferguson has mellowed in recent times, even though his angry outbursts of previous years prompted stories about what has become known as the 'hairdryer treatment'.

But Evra has revealed that the United manager is still capable of frightening behaviour in the changing room.

The former Monaco man first experienced Ferguson's temper after United lost 2-1 at Arsenal in January 2007.

"I have seen 'the hairdryer', not at me but at the whole team," Evra said.

"I remember we lost at Arsenal two years ago, when Thierry Henry scored in the last second, we came into the dressing room.

"I thought he was going to die. He was red. Oh my God. Just remembering it makes me scared. He was unbelievable.

"People told me about the hairdryer but I had never seen it. When I did, it was very impressive.

"The manager comes everywhere, on the training ground and in the dressing room. He likes to be everywhere with the players.

He is like the grandfather.

"He protects everyone and wants them all to respect the Manchester United shirt.

"He is a lovely guy when you do the things he wants. He likes it when people respect the Manchester United shirt.

"Then you can be a good friend of the boss. But you need to work very hard every day to make sure you don't disappoint him."

Evra is also amazed at Ferguson's ability to keep a large squad happy and content, and he thinks the atmosphere created by his manager makes for better team spirit than he has encountered elsewhere.

"There will never be another coach like him," he said.

"A manager can manage 24 international players. I play for France. Sometimes when you don't play you are not happy. With France before the game (the players who don't play) are just sad and don't say 'Come on guys, you need to win'.

"With Manchester United, when someone doesn't play - maybe a legend like Ryan Giggs - they still say 'Come on lads, we want you to win'.

"They say it with their heart, not because they want to show they are a good team-mate. This is the difference.

"Ferguson makes sure the team is the star, not only one player. That is his secret."

Evra believes Thierry Henry will be fit for Wednesday's game and he feels that the former Arsenal man should not be underestimated.

"Thierry is an unbelievable player," he said. "During his first year at Barcelona a lot of people said he was gone, that he was finished.

"But this year he has scored a lot of goals. He has played on the left-hand side. For me, he is still the big player he was when he was at Arsenal.

"Yes, everybody speaks about Messi but you also have to look at Henry and Andres Iniesta."