Vidic: We deserve Barca 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.”