Sunderland defender Revved up for Manchester United return

Anthony Reveillere in action against Burnley. Picture by FRANK REID

Anthony Reveillere in action against Burnley. Picture by FRANK REID

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IT IS A DECADE since Anthony Reveillere last played at Old Trafford.

When the French full-back went there as part of the Lyon side which tackled Manchester United in the group stages of the 2004-05 Champions League, the hosts were at their pomp.

If we can show our quality on the ball, we can come away with something.

Reveillere had to counter a front-line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistlerooy and Wayne Rooney, and United edged proceedings with a 2-1 victory.

But, as Reveillere prepares to return there with Sunderland this weekend, there is not quite the same aura surrounding Manchester United, even if they have taken 31 out of a possible 39 points at home this season.

Question marks remain over Louis van Gaal’s overhaul, albeit they remain in a top-four spot despite last weekend’s defeat at Swansea City.

And for a Sunderland side who recorded their first Premier League win at Old Trafford since 1968 last season – plus progressed on penalties in the League Cup semi-final – there is a belief that they can nick a point or three again to boost their survival prospects.

Reveillere told the Echo: “I’ve played against Manchester United in the Champions League – home and away.

“We know that it’s a challenge that is never easy there.

“But, at the same time, they’ve had a few difficulties this year and lost at Swansea last weekend.

“It’s still Manchester United, and they’ve brought in a lot of players this season.

“But we’ll be ready for it and we’ve done well away from home this season.

“If we can show our quality on the ball, we can come away with something.”

Reveillere made almost 300 appearances for Lyon during 10 years at the club, the last two of which saw him work under their former manager Remi Garde – this week the subject of fresh speculation linking him with a summer move to Newcastle.

The pair helped Lyon lift the French Cup in 2012 and Reveillere would welcome the chance to renew acquaintances with Garde in the North East, albeit the defender is yet to agree terms on extending his Sunderland contract which expires this summer.

“I had two or three years working under him at Lyon and he’s got a good mind for things,” said Reveillere.

“He knows England after playing at Arsenal, and he can speak English which is important.

“He’s not a stranger to the Premier League.

“He knows the English mentality.

“It would be a good opportunity for him, although we’d have to make sure we keep winning against them!”