x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Vidic and his United teammates are ready for Barcelona's histrionics

The Manchester United captain says his team will be prepared for the gamesmanship of Barcelona in Saturday's Champions League final.

Nemanja Vidic has been in excellent form for Manchester United — earning him the Barclays Player of the Season.
Nemanja Vidic has been in excellent form for Manchester United — earning him the Barclays Player of the Season.

MANCHESTER // Nemanja Vidic insists that Manchester United will be prepared for the gamesmanship of Barcelona in Saturday's Champions League final.

The Spanish champions' semi-final victory over Real Madrid was marred by a bad-tempered first leg when Daniel Alves was accused of feigning injury to get Pepe sent off.

It was the latest in a line of controversial dismissals in matches involving Barcelona, an issue highlighted by the Real manager, Jose Mourinho, after his side were beaten 2-0 in the first leg at the Bernabeu.

But Vidic, the United captain, is adamant that his side's bid to beat the favourites will not be undermined by a dirty-tricks campaign.

"We have to focus and concentrate, and then it won't be a big deal to handle the things that we know will come," he said.

"Obviously their players have a different mentality to us. But it won't be a problem to deal with these things.

"They may do things and argue more than they should do, but it won't affect us.

"The referee for the game will probably be the best referee around. I think he can cope with that."

The 29-year-old Serb has been sent off five times in the last three seasons but is determined to keep calm at Wembley Stadium.

"I don't think we have any doubt in the mentality of the players in our team and their ability to handle this," he said.

"We know each other and play for each other, and trust each other."

Only two red cards have been shown in Champions League finals, one to Chelsea's Didier Drogba for slapping Vidic in 2008.

"I was there in Moscow," the defender said. "It was my first final and there was lots happening on the field that I had to deal with.

"I dealt with it and I am sure all of us will deal with it this time."

Barcelona beat United 2-0 in the 2009 final, souring Vidic's memories of a fine season.

He is worried that another defeat would do the same.

"That year we won the World Club Cup, the Premier League and the Carling Cup," he said.

"Then you get to that final and you are so disappointed.

"All you can do is think about that game all summer."

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