Thursday 19 January 2012
Injured Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has welcomed the cross-city rivalry in the race for the Barclays Premier League title - and has warned that United will finish the season strongly.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side are currently three points behind City, and suffered an extraordinary 6-1 home League defeat against their neighbours in October.
But they claimed some revenge by winning 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium in the FA Cup third round earlier in January and have won six of their last eight League matches.
"We will be better than we were in the first half of the season"
- Nemanja Vidic
Vidic, who is out for the season after damaging knee ligaments against FC Basel in the Champions League in December, told the BBC: "I'm positive.
"We've had problems with injuries but it seems all the players are getting back and getting fitter.
"We will be better than we were in the first half of the season.
"It's not bad for the city of Manchester to have two teams competing for the title - as long as we finish in first place."
The 30-year-old added: "How we finish is most important. We will be better."
A string of defensive injuries have hampered United, with Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones all having missed games during the past month - although boss Ferguson has saluted the efforts of stand-in captain Patrice Evra.
Smalling, who is fit again following tonsilitis, said: "We've probably had more injuries than any other club in the League.
"Not many teams have lost players of the calibre of Nemanja and Darren Fletcher for such lengthy periods. And yet we're still going strong, we're still challenging for the lead."