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Vidic keen to put worst injury behind him

NEMANJA VIDIC is glad to be able to put the most irritating injury of his career behind him.

The Manchester United captain drew widespread praise for his commanding performance at Everton on Saturday, coming just four days after he was picked for the Carling Cup trip to Aldershot, supposedly as a punishment, by Alex Ferguson.

United's win at Goodison Park helped restore some sort of calm after that catastrophic derby-day loss to Manchester City. And for Vidic it marked the end of a beginning - to regain his former status as one of the Premier League's top defenders.

"I have never been out so long," said the recently-retired former Serbia skipper.

"It was eight weeks and it was a difficult time.

"I was desperate to be there but at least we did well, so I didn't have that much pressure to come back and play.

"That helped me. Now I feel well. I don't feel any pain, which is the most important thing. I can move on, try to reach my top form game by game and help the team reach our goals."

The stain of that City defeat will not be removed though, until such time as United land a significant piece of silverware.

To that end, they need to make the most of home advantage against Romanian minnows Otelul Galati tomorrow night.

Victory in Bucharest a fortnight ago courtesy of two Wayne Rooney penalties allowed Ferguson's team to scramble into second spot in Group C, ahead of Swiss outfit Basle. However, the points were not gained in the straightforward manner most had imagined and the dismissal of Vidic means Rio Ferdinand can expect a swift return to the United starting line-up after his omission at the weekend.

Further changes are anticipated too as Ferguson looks to ensure his side are in position to assume top spot by beating present leaders Benfica at Old Trafford later this month, which would help them to secure a more favourable last-16 pairing.