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Mar 18, 2013

Vidic: Utd won't let 15-point lead slip

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has warned the club's title rivals that the Red Devils have learnt from past mistakes and will not let their 15-point Premier League lead slip through their fingers.

• Blog: Manchester United tighten grip

• Blog: Disjointed United grind out win

United took advantage of closest rivals Manchester City's 2-0 slip at Everton to increase their advantage at the top with a 1-0 victory over Reading and put the Old Trafford side within touching distance of a 20th domestic title.

But United were in this position last season, heading for the championship with an eight-point lead with six games remaining, only to see cross-town rivals City clinch the title on a dramatic last day of the campaign.

However, in an ominous prediction of things to come, Vidic said there would be no repeat of last season's capitulation, believing the squad was steeled from last season's painful lesson.

"If you look at the 15 points you have to say it's a big gap and we shouldn't let that change," Vidic told The Sun. "We have the title in our hands but we still have games to play and we have some tough games as well.

"We have some away games that are traditionally hard for us. Nothing is finished yet but we're in a good position.

"I think last season is the reason why sometimes you can feel the fans in the stands get nervous and they think about what happened.

"But I don't think we should allow that to happen again. We can't allow that to happen again. We're in a good position now and we should enjoy playing football. It's a good time for us."

And the 31-year-old said the victory over Reading was the perfect example of United's resolve to find a way to pick up points, even when they squad was not at its best.

"We didn't play good football but we got the three points because we defended as a team and as a group," said Vidic. "Sometimes you have these games.

"The team worked hard. It wasn't a great performance, attacking-wise, but our attackers fought for the team, they fought to keep the clean sheet and that's why we got three points."

Chris Smalling agreed with his fellow defender, believing the period immediately after the international break would define United's season.

"When we come back it's two games in three days and that could be a key few days for us in terms of both the Premier League and FA Cup. They will be big games for us," Smalling also told The Sun. "We can't rest on our laurels and we have to make sure we finish it (the title) well before the season is over.

"The manager said that at this time of year there can be a lot of 1-0 wins which can be ugly, but you just need to get the three points.

"So it's just a case of moving on from this.

"It wasn't great but we need to come back from the internationals ready for some big games."

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