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Failure fires United's Mr Fix It

Nemanja Vidić wants to make amends for Manchester United FC's semi-final defeat last season by stopping FC Barcelona, although a stomach bug keeps him out of the first leg.

Nemanja Vidić is eyeing trophy success in the UEFA Champions League
Nemanja Vidić is eyeing trophy success in the UEFA Champions League ©Getty Images

Despite the talk of classic encounters which an FC Barcelona-Manchester United FC tie can evoke, it was perhaps fitting that a defender, Nemanja Vidić, was put forward by the English title-holders to face the press on the eve of the clubs' latest meeting.

Job to do
While United's attack has won the plaudits for its flair, productivity and invention, the outcome of this UEFA Champions League semi-final is likely to hinge on how well the back line deals with the danger posed by the likes of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o, Thierry Henry and Bojan Krkić. For Vidić, getting the better of such a talented strike force would go some way to erasing United's disappointment at this stage last season.

Milan memories
Last year United took on AC Milan in the semi-finals and Kaká stole the show, scoring three times as the Rossoneri triumphed 5-3 on aggregate. Both Rio Ferdinand and Vidić missed the first leg through injury and only the Serbian international was available to start the return at San Siro. Now Vidić - who will miss the match after contracting a stomach bug - insists it is time to make amends.

Final goal
"Of course it is," he said. "Last season we didn't do well in the semi-final. We know that and we want to fix that. We want to play much better this season. We want to get to the final and we want to win the trophy. Last season we played with the same squad most of the games and in the end we had a couple of injured players; maybe this was why we didn't play well at the last stage of the Champions League. This season we have a bigger squad and we're in a good way so I hope we can do well."

Greatest test
The central defensive partnership of Vidić and Ferdinand has been the cornerstone of United's success – no team has conceded fewer goals in either the Premier League or the UEFA Champions League. Now comes the biggest test of all. The return of Messi from injury boosts Barcelona's cause, but the 26-year-old Vidić sees the threat from the 2006 European champions as far greater than any one player.

'Hard job'
"He is one of the best players in the world, but it's not just about Messi. They have Eto'o who is also a great player and they have many good players. It is going to be a hard job and we will try our best to stop them playing their best game and to get a good result."