Manchester United spurred on by Rome defeat

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The Independent Online

Nemanja Vidic believes the gut-wrenching feeling of losing a Champions League final will drive Manchester United to do better this term.

United tackle German champions Wolfsburg at Old Trafford tomorrow looking to maintain a positive start in Group B.

Victory will leave the Red Devils tantalisingly close to booking their place in the knockout phase after just two games.

Yet it is only in Madrid next May that United can truly exorcise the ghosts of Rome and the defeat to Barcelona.

"It is a very bad feeling when you go to a final and lose and that one is a particularly bad memory," said Serbian defender Vidic. "You do have to acknowledge it is better to get to the final and lose than not be there at all and that to stand up you need to sit. But it is hard.

"We all know how we felt. We need to make sure it doesn't happen again."

United head into the game against Wolfsburg buoyed by a run of seven successive wins in all competitions, the latest being a comfortable triumph at Stoke on Saturday.

It suggests some kind of balance has been found following the high-profile exits of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, players it was felt Sir Alex Ferguson would find impossible to replace.

Vidic is certainly happy with the way United have coped but is anxious not to start shouting too quickly, knowing accurate assessments will only be made once the campaign has reached its conclusion.

"Ronaldo and Tevez are quality players, there is no question about that," Vidic added. "But it is hard to say whether we have got over losing them. We will probably only know that at the end of the season.

"If we don't win trophies, people will say it is because they have gone, although that is not necessarily the case.

"At the moment we are doing well. We have had the best start in the four years I have been here.

"There is no question we have quality players but, for me, the really encouraging sign is that we are still not in the best form.

"You don't want to be at your highest level at this stage. We have to be ready for the most important games at the end."

However, few would dispute Wayne Rooney is at the top of his game. When Ronaldo made his world record £80million switch to Real Madrid, more attention was focused on Rooney to fulfil the immense potential he showed with Everton as a youngster. The England star is delivering, although Vidic feels the demand was unjust anyway.

"It is wrong that people are suddenly looking at Wayne," he said. "He has always been an important player for us so, in that sense, nothing has changed.

"Sometimes he does things the fans don't see because he is doing a job for the team.

"This year he is even more noticeable because he is scoring goals and has a different role in the team.

"But we don't need to put pressure on him. We know all about his ability."

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