x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Pain of 2009 is motivating Vidic for Barca clash

Nemanja Vidic is using the memory of one of the saddest moments of his career to focus Manchester United this week as they prepare for Saturday's Champions League final against Barcelona.

MANCHESTER // Nemanja Vidic is using the memory of one of the saddest moments of his career to focus Manchester United this week as they prepare for Saturday's Champions League final against Barcelona.

United were officially crowned Premier League champions for a record 19th time at Old Trafford on Sunday but thoughts immediately turned to the showdown at London's Wembley Stadium and the chance to avenge the 2009 final defeat to Barca in Rome.

"We are celebrating but everyone is thinking about the next game," Vidic said. "It is the biggest game of the whole year.

"We know what it feels like to go to the final and lose. That match was one of the saddest moments of my career. I am sure all the players will not forget it.

"We know we are facing a very good team and have to be physically and psychologically ready," he added. "Against this Barcelona team you have to be intelligent. They have qualities but we will work on their weaknesses and expose them."

United's backroom staff will monitor Darren Fletcher for a couple of days before deciding whether the Scotland captain will be fit to face Barcelona.

Sir Alex Ferguson had promised to give Fletcher every chance to recover from the virus that kept him out since March.

Fletcher, 27, completed the full 90 minutes against Blackpool on Sunday and the expectation is that he will play some part in Gary Neville's testimonial tonight. And it is how he recovers from that which will determine whether he has any hope of being involved on Saturday.

If Fletcher does not make it, he will be suffering his third lot of Champions League misery.

He was an unused substitute when United beat Chelsea in Moscow three years ago.

Twelve months after that, he was suspended for an innocuous foul on Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas.