Thursday 05 April 2012
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic says Rio Ferdinand is as much of a defensive force as ever.
Ferdinand, 33, has struggled with a back injury which has limited his first-team action during recent seasons - but has been a reliable presence during this campaign.
And Vidic, who is currently recuperating from a ruptured cruciate knee ligament, said his central defensive partner had firmly proved his critics wrong.
"Rio has hunger... He is a very important player, not just this year but over past years"
- Nemanja Vidic
"At the beginning of the season there were a lot of people questioning Rio, asking whether he could do what he did in the past, can he play, is he finished?" Vidic said.
"This was nonsense. Rio has hunger and now he has proved people they are wrong.
"He is a very important player, not just this year but over the past years and he has done very well over the last few months."
Ferdinand has made 23 Barclays Premier League appearances this season as United have headed to the top of the table bolstered by a defence which has conceded only 27 times - a tally only bettered by second-placed Manchester City.
"It doesn't matter who is out - Man Utd never depend on one player"
- Nemanja Vidic
United trailed their neighbours by five points in the League at the time of Vidic's injury against Basle in the Champions League in December.
But the Serbian said that even though he has to watch from the sidelines, he had full confidence in the team's ability to mount a solid challenge for the title.
"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."