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.”