Nemanja Vidic is still trying to ignore talk about the impact of losing both Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez in the summer, determined that Manchester United's success this season will not be based on how the club deals with their departures.
The Serbia international, speaking ahead of Manchester United's Champions League date with Wolfsburg on Wednesday night, feels that the club's critics are desperate for United to fail this season so they can point the finger of blame at Sir Alex Ferguson for not adequately replacing the duo.
"Ronaldo and Tevez are quality players, there is no question about that,'' Vidic said. "But it is hard to say whether we have got over losing them. We will probably only know that at the end of the season.
"If we don't win trophies, people will say it is because they have gone, although that is not necessarily the case. At the moment we are doing well. We have had the best start in the four years I have been here. There is no question we have quality players but, for me, the really encouraging sign is that we are still not in the best form.
"You don't want to be at your highest level at this stage. We have to be ready for the most important games at the end.''
Vidic was also quick to praise striker Wayne Rooney, but believes his value to the side has long been overlooked with Ronaldo in the squad.
"It is wrong that people are suddenly looking at Wayne,'' he said. "He has always been an important player for us so, in that sense, nothing has changed. Sometimes he does things the fans don't see because he is doing a job for the team.
"This year he is even more noticeable because he is scoring goals and has a different role in the team. But we don't need to put pressure on him. We know all about his ability.''