Patrice Evra cited the famous Manchester United FC spirit as being behind their defeat of Olympiacos FC while David de Gea, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones lauded Ryan Giggs.
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Manchester United FC captain Patrice Evra hailed the show of spirit that enabled David Moyes's team to revive their UEFA Champions League campaign in thrilling fashion against Olympiacos FC.
"When you have the Man. United spirit, you can make the difference," said Evra after United put behind them not just their 2-0 first-leg loss to the Greek titleholders but also last weekend's heavy defeat by Liverpool FC as they produced their best performance of the Moyes era to claim their first quarter-final spot since 2011.
Robin van Persie's hat-trick secured United's 3-0 victory on the night – 3-2 overall – but from a trio of other players there was particular praise for the 40-year-old Ryan Giggs, the oldest-ever to take part in the knockouts, who sold Father Time yet another dummy with a superb individual display.
Patrice Evra, United captain
I am really pleased for everyone, for the fans, for the new staff, for the players – it was really important today to show the love and respect for the shirt and we won tonight because of the spirit. Maybe people will say I am too old school, but when you have the Man United spirit you can make the difference and nothing is impossible.
After we lost against a rival like Liverpool 3-0 at home and the fans were still singing for us, when I got home I was so sad – I was happy the fans supported us until the end, but I was so hurt inside and couldn’t wait for this game to give something back. We've had a tough season and they are fantastic.
Well done to Robin, he scored a hat-trick and I remember the night we won the league against Aston Villa and he scored a hat-trick, and we needed our big players. They stepped up tonight, [not only] him and Wayne but all the team – the star was the team today, it was not only one player. It is a tough competition, but everyone thought we were out tonight and we just showed Man. United are still alive.
Phil Jones, United defender
We knew the objective tonight was to go and score three goals and not concede, and we've done that. On another night we probably could have scored more, but all over the pitch we were excellent. Collectively, defensively but especially going forward there was a real attacking threat tonight and we thoroughly deserved to qualify for the next round. [Giggs] was terrific, he drives the team forward and the ball for the penalty was exquisite – you can't teach that.
Michael Carrick, United midfielder
What is left to say about [Giggs]? It is just incredible to come into a game like that not having played a lot of football of late and be physically able to do it, get through a game, shows how he looks after himself. Especially his ball for the second goal – moments like that are him and he can still do it now. It is just a pleasure to play with him.
David de Gea, United goalkeeper
The atmosphere was impressive and the team were determined to fight back, to come out and show were are a good side, and we're delighted. Giggs was impressive – he is a legend and every time he plays, he plays well. He is a reference point for any player. [Olympiacos] had their chances and I was fortunate enough to stop them and we're now through to the next round and really pleased. We'll take confidence from this and carry on along the same lines and hopefully go far.