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The Northern Irish centre-back has hit out at critics who insist the current Red Devils side do not to compare to those which have previously won Premier League titles

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has rejected suggestions that the current Red Devils squad is weaker than in previous years.

The 24-year-old has been a permanent fixture for Sir Alex Ferguson's men this season due to the long-term injury absence of club captain Nemanja Vidic.

And he insists that the reigning Premier League champions deserve their position at the top of the table, arguing that the quality of the league has improved again this campaign.

“The bar has been raised again,” he told the club’s official website. “Chelsea did it a few years ago and whenever there is an out-and-out challenger the other teams have to be better.

“People keep saying it is a great achievement for this team, but if you look at our record, it speaks for itself.

“People say we have not been playing well but some of the football we have played at home has been outstanding.

“You can't always play well away from home but we have gone away and ground out results.”

United hold a five-point advantage over Manchester City at the Premier League summit, but Evans believes his side cannot celebrate league victory with a trip to the Etihad Stadium on April 30 approaching.

“It would be nice to think we can almost touch another winners' medal but we can't think about that yet,” he insisted. “It can change in just a couple of days.

“Five points sounds a lot but it isn't when you think about it. We have to concentrate on getting over the Everton game first and still being five points clear when we play Manchester City.

“A Manchester derby is a massive game, whether a Premier League title is at stake or not. It is against your local rivals.

“They beat us at our place earlier this season so no matter what was on the game we would want to win it.”

United host Everton on Sunday and Evans and warned that David Moyes' men will be looking to bounce back following an FA Cup semi-final defeat last weekend.

“Everton always seem to be slow starters but they have hit a great patch of form in the second half of the season,” he said.

“They are above their local rivals Liverpool so I am sure they will want to finish above them in the league after losing to them in the FA Cup semi-final.

“Getting to the semi-final shows how good a team they are. It is going to be another tough game. It is a game where we will have to be patient because they do defend quite well.”

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