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Apr 5, 2011

Vidic still wary of Chelsea strikers

Nemanja Vidic is not taking solace in the fact Chelsea's strikeforce is failing to fire, admitting instead that the Blues have a mental edge over Manchester United ahead of their Champions League showdown.

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United visit Stamford Bridge in their quarter-final first leg on Wednesday having not won at the venue for nine years, a record Vidic concedes will give Chelsea that little bit of extra belief before kick-off. In their most recent visit five weeks ago, United lost their Premier League encounter with Vidic sent off late.

But United always have the return leg to forward to and Vidic says a crucial away goal is the desired prize on Wednesday, meaning the hunt for that elusive victory is not a major concern this time around.

"In terms of the results, yes, they do have an edge because they had good ones against us,'' Vidic said. "But this is the Champions League and the name of the game for is on Wednesday is to score an away goal.''

Chelsea have returned to form over the past two months after a mid-season slump but although that revival coincided with the signing of Fernando Torres from Liverpool, they have hardly been boosted by a glut of goals from their star-studded forward line. Didier Drogba helped alieviate the barren spell with a goal at Stoke in the Premier League on Saturday but Torres is yet to score since his arrival for £50million.

While Vidic's previous weakness against Torres used to define the build up to their meetings, it is now Torres' chase for his first Chelsea goal. But Vidic is refusing to take any encouragement from the lack of form shown by those he will be marking on Wednesday.

"It doesn't give us any confidence,'' he said. "Chelsea have good strikers, and we have a lot of respect for them. Just because they haven't been scoring goals, they will still be doing their best. And in a cup tie, what matters is who wins, not who gets the goals.''

One factor in United's advantage is the boost of their 4-2 come-from-behind win at West Ham on Saturday, a result that came immediately before Chelsea's disappointing draw at Stoke.

"Our performance on Saturday is a big positive for us,'' Vidic said. "We scored four goals and played very good football. We do need to improve the defending part but if we can play like that against Chelsea, I am sure we will be okay.''

Vidic could have been going into the Chelsea game on the back of a red card following his clumsy challenge on Demba Ba at the weekend, which turned out to be the pivotal moment of the contest. Already two goals down, if the defender had gone off, it is hard to envisage United being able to turn the match around in the manner that they did.

Instead, referee Lee Mason took a lenient view, believing the ball was running through to goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak, therefore Vidic was not denying the Hammers forward a goalscoring opportunity.

"When I saw he gave the foul to West Ham, I was worried he would maybe give me a card, but I didn't know which one it would be,'' said Vidic. "Sometimes referees are right, on other occasions they are wrong. I try not to let it disturb me either way.''

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