Nemanja Vidic claims he never had any doubts that Manchester United would shrug off his season-ending absence and make a strong defence of their Premier League title.
When Vidic was carried off with ruptured cruciate knee ligaments against Basle in December – as United went out of the Champions League – there were many who believed that their entire campaign would be a disaster. Less than four months on, they are now five points clear at the top of the Premier League, an outcome that does not surprise the Serbian centre-half.
"I always believed we would challenge for the title," Vidic said. "It doesn't matter who is out. Man-chester United never depend on one player. If you look at the past, players have left and fans have said 'how are we going to cope?'
"But the manager is the best at replacing players and the team still win titles and trophies. That is why Manchester United are so special." Despite their winning run, United are still a team in transition, with the likes of Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck all playing a major role this season.
"We didn't expect that the young players would play so many games and have such influence on the team," added Vidic. "This is a great plus for the club. Now we are at the top of the league and have a big chance to win it."