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Vidic: weeks ahead crucial

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Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Adnan Januzaj. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Adnan Januzaj. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

MANCHESTER United captain Nemanja Vidic feels the club will "know exactly where" they are in the next few weeks in terms of how their Premier League season is shaping up.

Reigning champions United are currently seventh in the table with 37 points from 21 games, five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.

The Red Devils play five top-flight matches between now and mid-February, a sequence that starts with Sunday's trip to third-placed Chelsea and ends with a clash with current table-toppers Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Vidic said: "We have to win regularly and in the next month we will know exactly where we are.

"By the end of January and start of February we will show what our position is and what our capability is in the Premier League.

"Then, of course, the Champions League starts up again. This is an important time for us and we all want to do well."

United are away against Olympiacos in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on February 25.

 

CONTEST

In other cup action, they play the second leg of their League Cup semi-final with Sunderland at Old Trafford next week, starting the contest 2-1 down from the first leg.

The Red Devils have struggled for consistency in manager David Moyes' first season in charge.

And while Vidic has described Moyes as a "good character" for keeping the group going, the centre-back has also emphasised the responsibility of the players, not least himself.

"You have to always be together as a team. That's important. If you have a bad result you have to concentrate on doing the right things – in training and with your behaviour, then in the matches.

"We are lucky here because there are so many players who are experienced and mature people, they help the team try to achieve what we want to do.

"The manager is a good character and does that but it's up to the players too. We're a group and it's a group responsibility to deal with those situations."

Meanwhile, former United defender Gary Pallister has praised Adnan Januzaj's attitude to the physical tactics opponents have used to combat him since he burst onto the scene earlier this season.

The 18-year-old's fleet-footed approach has posed problems for defences ever since he shot to national attention with two goals in his first start in the Premier League, at Sunderland on October 5.

While calling for referees to protect the youngster from some physical treatment, David Moyes has also demanded that Januzaj deal positively with this approach. Ex-Red Pallister, meanwhile, is impressed with the results so far.

"He is an outstanding talent," Pallister said. "The way he has been playing tells you an awful lot about the character of the boy.

"The manager has talked about the kicks and the physical attention Adnan gets, and you can see that in every game. He does get targeted – in the Sunderland semi-final he got a couple of bad tackles, which I don't think the referee dealt with very well."

Januzaj's latest performance, in the 2-0 win over Swansea, saw the teenager pull the strings in different roles either side of a half-time tactical switch by manager David Moyes, leading to the teenager being named man of the match.

 

YOUNGSTER

Pallister is delighted with how Januzaj has quickly learned to cope with the close attention he now receives to turn in such influential displays while still being inexperienced.

"Adnan deserves credit, because players are targeting him as he is a threat. He's young and he's not grown into his body just yet, it looks as though he is getting whacked and picked upon," he said.

"But the great thing about him is that he picks himself up, dusts himself down and attacks them straight away. He's not fazed or bothered about the physical treatment he gets.

"He'll get the ball again and attack the same guy that has just kicked him. That is something that you look for in the character of players; once people do try to intimidate them, they don't take a backward step."


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