29/03/2010 18:16, Report by Nick Coppack in Munich

Praise for vintage Vidic

Sir Alex Ferguson said he would have been “amazed” had the FA taken retrospective action against Nemanja Vidic for a challenge on Johan Elmander during the Reds’ 4-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.

Opposition manager Owen Coyle claimed his striker required four stitches in his head after the Serbian defender caught him with his forearm. The Bolton boss branded the contact "terrible", but Sir Alex says it was merely a good old-fashioned centre-back’s challenge. The FA confirmed on Monday they would not review the incident.

“Vidic came in at half-time with a lump on his head the size of an egg, a swollen jaw and a black eye,” Sir Alex told press in Munich. "What's that story about living in glass houses?

“I would have been totally amazed if Vidic had been charged… it was a clear eye-on-the-ball header from a centre-back. There was no intent whatsoever and no eye towards the opponent. I don’t even know if he knew who was beside him or where he was.

"His sole intention was to attack that ball and head it clear, and he did that.”

Sir Alex went on to lavish praise upon Vidic, labelling his performance at the Reebok Stadium "the best I've seen from a centre-back in years".

"I didn’t see all the other games but I didn’t have to," he said. "The return to our Vidic and Ferdinand partnership means the back four is solid again. Edwin van der Sar’s return has helped, too.

"There was a time earlier in the season when all those players were injured and we were very fragile. You can see the solidity now, you can see the experience of these players… it’s making a massive difference to the performance of the team."


Premier League