Nemanja Vidic is happy to admit Barcelona "are favourites" to win the Champions League final – but feels Manchester United deserve "respect".
The early build-up to this weekend’s Champions League final has been dominated by talk of United’s meeting with Barcelona in the final in Rome two years ago when they were comprehensively outplayed.
In addition, there have been familiar questions about the quality of this particular Red Devils vintage, which bring unflattering comparisons with the Catalans, who boast arguably the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, in their ranks, as well as Spain stars Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
Little wonder United will start at 3-1 with leading bookmakers William Hill, the longest odds they have been for any match this season.
For Vidic, the assessments are getting a little wearing.
"There should be some respect for us," said the United skipper. "Barcelona are favourites for this game. We are fine with that.
"They are a good team and they play some good football.
"But we are not a club that has won nothing over the years. We are Manchester United.
"In the last five years we have won four titles and this will be our third Champions League final. I believe we can win."
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has already made some subtle changes to the manner in which his side are building up to the greatest club game on the planet.
Vidic was in the United starting line-up that faced Blackpool at Old Trafford on Sunday.
It might have been a slight risk but it will ensure the defender is not rusty when he gets ready to face Messi and company.
DVDs of that horrible performance in the Stadio Olimpico have been checked closely, with Vidic believing the current Barcelona team, whilst now containing David Villa and Javier Mascherano, are not much different from the one which left Italy victorious.
"I don’t think you should forget any game you lose," said Vidic. "That was the first time they had played without a striker – which surprised us.
"This year it seems they are playing the same way. In fact, there are not many differences between that Barcelona team and this one at all."
Concentration is going to be hugely important as United attempt to stop Barca’s close passing game without conceding a succession of free-kicks in dangerous positions.
Vidic is adamant it can be done.
"We have played so many big matches over the years and we can use that experience," he said.
"We will have to be prepared, physically, mentally and also tactically for the biggest game of the season."
It would be unfair to say the outcome is secondary to United not emerging with a sense of regret that still lingers two years on.
However, Vidic’s demeanour, and that of other significant figures within the club suggests at least competing with Barcelona is a minimum requirement at Wembley.
"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. When you lose a final, it is not the feeling you want to have, especially when you lose to someone like that," said Vidic. "We are not thinking about any revenge or justice.
"We just want to prove we are a good team and try to win that trophy."