“He comes from Serbia, he’ll…” -well we all know the rest, United’s Nemanja Vidic has been missing since that disastrous night in Basle which saw the Reds crash out of the Champions League and lose our best defender for the season.
While the Blue third of Manchester moans about the handful of games their skipper Vincent Kompany has missed the season, United have done what we always do, look to our fringe players to step up and lead the charge to the top of the table.
The form of Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand’s consistent run, plus the support of youngsters such as Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have helped United’s defence cope with the loss of such a colossal figure like Vidic.
Many in the media, and dare I say even a few Reds thought Vidic’s injury would scupper United’s bid for that record-enhancing 20th title but that goal now looks well within the realms of possibility.
The Mail reports how Vidic recently stated:
I always believed we would challenge for the title,’ he said.
‘It doesn’t matter who is out. Manchester 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.’
‘We didn’t expect the young players would play so many games and have such influence on the team,’ said Vidic.
‘This is a great plus for the club.
‘Obviously we have had some injuries over the past year, which is another difficult thing we have gone through, but we have coped and been very competitive with Manchester City.
‘Now we are at the top of the league and have a big chance to win it.’
Speaking of his recuperation and when he expects to be back in the United side, Vidic noted:
‘I never thought about coming back’
‘I am not pushing. I am lucky, the manager and the physios and the doctor weren’t trying to beat the record.
‘They didn’t want me to come back in five months. There would be no point rushing to play one or two games.
‘As soon as I got the injury and had the operation, I knew I wouldn’t be back. I am just focussed on next season.’
If United do win the title- after all it’s far from a foregone conclusion-then doing so without Vidic will be a monumental achievement and can only fill teams with dread at how strong the Reds could be next year.