Manchester United defender Jonny Evans says he was wrong to suggest his poor performances last season could be the precursor to his departure from Old Trafford.

The Northern Irish defender endured a torrid 2010/11 season with his infrequent appearances littered with performances putting the 24-year-old on the brink of departing the club.

However, despite the summer signing of Phil Jones, the absence of captain Nemanja Vidic has allowed Evans to flourish in the United starting eleven, and is the favourite to land the club's Players' Player of the Year award.

"Maybe I was too honest," he said. "Maybe I shouldn't have said that.

"It was an honest opinion of myself, I guess.

"People thought I had a bad season but, in my mind, it was only a period of games in which I didn't play too well.

"One or two of those performances were highlighted by others but every player goes through that. It was up to me to find a way to get through it.

"Everybody needs to be challenged. You either rise to it or you don't, and if you don't then you don't deserve to be at a club like Manchester United."

Jonny Evans
Evans has been at the cornerstone of United's success this season.

Although Evans missed out on recognition from the Professional Footballers' Association or the Football Writers' Association in the end of season awards, Evans leads the contenders for United's own awards, according to manager Sir Alex Ferguson said.

"I think Jonny is in the running, to be honest with you," said Ferguson. "As far as I can gather.

"There's quite a few players [in contention]. David De Gea's form recently has been brilliant. Rio Ferdinand has had a great season, one of his best at the club. There's Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes."

Evans will be required to turn-out another faultless display next Monday for the trip to Manchester City, a game which is likely to prove pivotal in the destination of the Premier League title.

After conceding four in the draw with Everton last Sunday, United's defence appears vulnerable going into the business end of the season, but Evans' partnership with Rio Ferdinand will provide a solid base for the reigning champions going into their Etihad Stadium trip.

The former Sunderland loanee believes the experience of the pair has proven crucial this term.

"I don't think about how many games I might end up playing," he added. "My aim is always to just get into the next team and then play well.

"Rio's on about 400 games and I know that took him by surprise a little bit.

"I've been here about four years and I've played 120-odd games - that's about 30 a season. Hopefully I can add a few more to that next year."