Sunderland v Manchester United preview: After last year's last-gasp heartbreak, Nemanja Vidic remains wary
Friday 29 March 2013
Nemanja Vidic will not be celebrating a Manchester United title triumph until he has the trophy in his hands.
After rupturing his cruciate ligaments in December 2011, Vidic was nothing more than a bystander last May when United went to Sunderland and had the Premier League title snatched from their grasp with virtually the last kick of the campaign.
As the Red Devils needed to win, and hope Manchester City failed to beat QPR on home soil, Vidic knew it was a long shot, even though they got much closer than anyone could imagine.
However, it is the memory of how an eight-point lead evaporated in the space of just four end-of-season games is seared into Vidic's mind.
It is why there is no sense of satisfaction just yet, even if he accepts a 15-point lead should be enough.
“You are never sure until you have the trophy in your hands,” said the Serbian.
“I do think about last season. It is still fresh.
“If we hadn't experienced that people would be saying it is already done.
“But that kind of thing keeps you sharp.
“It is good for the team and the players because we don't want that to happen again.
“It was bad last year but this year it is working for us.”
Yet Vidic shares the same sentiments as his manager in finding it difficult to believe United could have established such a position of strength with nine games of the campaign remaining.
“We didn't expect this situation,” he said. “No-one expected did.
“We are happy with it but we still have big games to play.
“We have to play City, Arsenal, Chelsea, West Brom, Swansea. They are teams who can hurt you. They are tough games.
“Teams at the top and some who are fighting relegation. We just have to keep winning.”
Pressed for the difference between last season and this, Vidic points to an increased goals output.
He also does not underestimate the strength of a squad that would allow Sir Alex Ferguson to field two entirely different teams at Sunderland tomorrow and Chelsea in the FA Cup on Monday should he so wish.
“It is hard to say what the difference has been,” said Vidic.
“We have scored a lot of goals. We won more games than any other Manchester United team in the Premier League. That is a statistic you have to respect.
“Also, if you look at the players who have played this season, everyone has their role.
“The manager can rest players. Some have come back from their national teams and now we have two games in three days, but we can still choose two different teams to keep things fresh.”
Latest in Sport
Brendan Rodgers future: Odds shorten on sack as Liverpool manager prepares to meet bosses in next 36 hours
Fifa corruption: Sepp Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke 'sent' $10m payment to Jack Warner in letter from the South African FA
Sepp Blatter resigns: Under-pressure Fifa president quits amid corruption scandal
Next Liverpool manager: Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp among favourites to succeed Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool transfer news: James Milner nearing Anfield switch, but club baulk at £32.5m Christian Benteke release clause
- 3 Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers