Former United winger Jules Maiorana believes that Nemanja Vidic was one of the best defenders in the history of the club following news of the Serbian’s retirement.
Vidic, who had spent a season and a half with Inter Milan has announced his retirement in the past week and Jules, who was at United between 1988 and 1994, playing alongside the likes of Steve Bruce and Paul McGrath believes him to be one of the best the club have ever had in that position.
“I can’t blame him for retiring, he was a great player, absolutely superb. 34 is no age but I bet those legs have done some running over the years and he was a strong, hard man. Sometimes you just think enough is enough, he could have done what John Terry will probably do and filled his boots with more money but fair play to him for just deciding to call it a day.
“He used to fly into tackles but he’d do it fairly and always make sure he got the ball. He made attackers know that he was there and that would intimidate and scare some opposition players. United could do with him right now that’s for sure, he was a great player.
“I’d put him right up there with the best defenders United have ever had, I rated him better than Ferdinand. Obviously those two were great when they played together but if I had to pick one I’d go for Vidic.
“Paul McGrath was a great player and Jaap Stam was another great centre-back but I’d put Vidic up there with the best of them without a doubt.”
Asked to give his opinion on United’s recent form and hopes for the rest of the season, Jules thinks that a top four finish is still possible despite the criticism manager Louis Van Gaal has received in the last few months: “They’re fifth in the league and like I’ve said before they’re not playing the greatest of football. I watched the Liverpool game and they didn’t play well at all but you’ve got to be happy with a win there.
“For Van Gaal, if he gets the team to finish in the top four then for me it’s a successful season. I can appreciate that United fans are going mental and want him out and they’ve been linked with Mourinho.
“They seem to lack leaders on the pitch and the team isn’t that great. Everybody goes on about Smalling and to be fair he has raised his game but he’s no Vidic or Stam. The one player who I think has been really good is Anthony Martial, I don’t know what’s happened to Depay but that was on the cards before they signed him when people were saying that he had an attitude problem.
“They’ve still got a chance of making the top four and it’s only the beginning of February. Looking at the team and the way they’ve been playing I’d say no but it wouldn’t surprise me if they do qualify for the Champions League. We’ll find out in the next few months.”
United have been drawn away to Shrewsbury Town in the next round of the FA Cup, a game Jules thinks Louis Van Gaal can’t really afford to lose: “That’s a massive game for Shrewsbury and I bet they’re absolutely buzzing. That’ll be interesting especially because it’s away, the manager’s job isn’t 100% secure at the moment so it wouldn’t surprise me if United put out a strong team.
“Imagine if United lost to Shrewsbury, I don’t think it’ll be the absolute strongest team but I’m sure he’ll have some of his best players out there. His job is on the line and if he slips up there I think he could be gone.”