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Ferdinand return is like new signing - Vidic

Nemanja Vidic is treating the return of Rio Ferdinand like the arrival of a big-name signing at Manchester United.

Given their performances over the past four years, it hardly seems like a coincidence that Vidic's reunion with his long-time central defensive colleague has already yielded two clean sheets.

Although the last one, at Sunderland earlier this month, was not the platform for a much-hoped-for win and saw the Red Devils slip five points behind Chelsea in the Premier League pecking order, having their defensive axis back in unison must give United a lift ahead of tomorrow's clash with West Brom.

Certainly Vidic is delighted to see his old mate back in action after long-standing back and knee problems.

"Rio played against Valencia and Sunderland and looked fit and I watched England's game against Montenegro, when he also looked very sharp," observed Vidic.

"I am glad he is fit and I hope he doesn't have any more injuries because over the last couple of years they have caused him so many problems.

"Hopefully this year he will be ready. If he is, it will be like a big signing for us."

Vidic has had a bit more time on his hands this week due to the suspension he was forced to serve following his booking in Serbia's surprise Euro 2012 defeat to Estonia last week.

Although the former Red Star hard man was probably upset to miss the trip to Italy, it turned out to be a good game to sit out given the carnage that ensued.

Vidic is keeping his thoughts to himself about the violence from Serbia's own supporters that forced the match to be abandoned, which could yet see his country thrown out of the competition altogether.

Instead, he is concentrating on the visit of West Brom, and the start of a congested period of matches he hopes will wake United from their early season slumber.

"I wouldn't say we are under more pressure because of our previous results. At Manchester United we are under pressure anyway," he said.

"We have to win, it doesn't matter whether we play home or away.

"This is the mentality we must have because that is the ambition of the club.

"You have to reach that high and you have to remain consistent, it doesn't matter if you are home or away."

Vidic certainly does not view the Premier League table, which unusually has United under neighbours Manchester City, as a reason to panic.

"It is the beginning of the season and we have lost a few points, I accept that," he said.

"If you look at the last year, we lost a lot of points but Chelsea won the title and they lost some as well.

"It will be the same this year because, if anything, the competition is even better than it was before.

"This is the time of year when we traditionally start doing better. I hope this season will be the same."

PA Media