Nemanja Vidic says Manchester United must focus on Barcelona - European - Football - The Independent

Nemanja Vidic says Manchester United must focus on Barcelona

Nemanja Vidic is certain the tear-stained memories of Rome will ensure Manchester United enjoy the briefest of title celebrations.

United were officially crowned champions for a record 19th time at Old Trafford yesterday.

It was the fourth time in five full seasons with the Red Devils that Vidic had finished number one, his personal contribution marked before the game when he was named Premier League player-of-the-year.

But before the Serbian considers the accolade, or revels too much in getting to collect his first major trophy as United skipper, his focus immediately turned to this weekend's Champions League final, and a burning desire to atone for a disastrous performance in Rome two years ago.

"We are celebrating but everyone is thinking about the next game," he said.

"It is the biggest game of the whole year. We have to prepare as best as we can for Barcelona.

"We know what it feels like to go to the final and lose.

"That match was one of the saddest moments of my career. I am sure all the players will not forget it."

Sir Alex Ferguson has always claimed to know what went wrong at the Stadio Olimpico when, after a bright start, United slumped after Samuel Eto'o had scored against the run of play.

They were well out of the contest before Lionel Messi nodded a match-clinching second past Edwin van der Sar, who will play the last competitive game of his career on Saturday night.

"We know we are facing a very good team and have to be physically and psychologically ready," said Vidic.

"Against this Barcelona team you have to be intelligent.

"They have qualities but we will work on their weaknesses and expose them to try and win the game."

In truth, United have been working the tactics they intend to implement against the Catalans since the title was secured at Blackburn on May 14.

By the time they reach kick-off on Saturday evening, it means Ferguson and coaches Mike Phelan and Rene Meulensteen will have had a fortnight to work on a strategy to stop Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta weaving the pretty patterns that so often prove destructive.

However, it will have also sunk in with those players who have not experienced it before, that United are a team capable of winning big competitions.

Just as former United trainee David Platt observed in the wake of last week's FA Cup final that Manchester City would get a major boost from knowing they had the capability of seeing any task to its conclusion, so Fabio, Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez are aware of it too.

And Vidic knows he can lead a team to glory, not just be in one.

"I was very proud when I was given the captaincy but if you are captain and you don't win a trophy, it is not a great feeling," he said.

"One of our main targets this year was to win the Premier League and go above Liverpool.

"But this is not going to stop. We want to improve and get better."

It seems strange to think now that when Vidic arrived, it was less than a month after United had crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage, they were about to go three years without the title and Ferguson was generally been written off as yesterday's man.

Not any more, although, with Arsenal ending the season so far from glory, Chelsea in the midst of more upheaval and Liverpool not even finishing in the top five, it seems the forthcoming battles will be with the men who had their own parade in Manchester today, seven days before United have theirs.

"I arrived here in 2005 and every year has been getting better," said Vidic.

"It is just amazing. In five years at this club I have won the Premier League four times and am about to play in my third Champions League final.

"It really is a dream."

Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week