Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic believes their record against the big teams this season has been awful despite recent rejuvenation of form.
And the 32-year-old Serbia defender insists the Premier League Champions must win today’s Old Trafford showdown against leaders Arsenal to prove they are more than cowardly bullies after convincing victories over mid-table teams like Swansea, Fulham, Stoke City, Crystal Palace and Sunderland.
Vidic has now urged his team-mates to step up and be counted, he said: “We have to step up for a big game like this. We have to prove to everyone, including our fans and ourselves, that we are good. That is the challenge for us.”
“Arsenal have played really well this season but we have to show we can do. better than we did in games like Manchester City (United lost 4-1). I
have seen signs we are getting better but good players raise their performances in big games and Arsenal is definitely a big game and one we’re looking forward to.”
During United’s dodgy spell, which also included a home defeat by West Bromwich Albion when Vidic was injured, Sir Alex Ferguson was moved to say:
“What is important and key to the team is if Vida stays fit.” And clearly elated Vidic responded saying: “It was really something nice to hear Sir Alex say that kind of thing. He was my manager for eight years.”
Vidic rolled out a man-of-the-match display against Real Sociedad in mid-week and that typified his old boss’ adulation of him.
He left the field at full time wincing after receiving a bang in the ribs but shrugged it off afterwards as “just a knock, I’m fine”. Coinciding with his return, United have gone eight games
Recent matches have been more one-sided United won one 8-2, but, with Ferguson leaving and Arsene Wenger rediscovering his mojo via Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, Vidic acknowledges this game is the real deal once again.
“This is different to recent years. We are looking at them more seriously,” he says. “Arsenal are playing well, top of the league.
“They are in the best form of all the teams competing for the title and I think we need a performance at home.
“We need to pay attention to details and defend right, create chances and score goals.
“A lot of things are getting better and better, but we need them to be even better against Arsenal. They present challenges for defenders.
“They play a good passing game, short-distance passes. Their full-backs give them width and they have a target man, Giroud, who is good on crosses,
which gives them something different.
“They are getting stronger and better. Players like Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil are between 22-25, beginning to reach their peak. We know Arsenal’s
strengths but we have to work on ours, too.”