NEMANJA VIDIC has insisted Manchester United will not fall victim to any gamesmanship from Barcelona players as Alex Ferguson’s side build up to Saturday’s Champions League final.
Pep Guardiola’s side, who beat Barcelona 2-0 in the final in Rome two years ago, have been celebrated as one of the finest teams in the history of the sport with their fine brand of passing football.
They provided a host of players for Spain’s World Cup and European Championship winning sides and are aiming for a second Champions League title in three years.
But Guardiola’s team have also become renowned for crowding referees and orchestrating their complaining to officials, following their bitter semi-final victory over Real Madrid.
United have paid the price for indiscipline in Europe in the past, with Rafael being sent off in last season’s quarter-final second leg with Bayern Munich.
But United captain Vidic maintains Alex Ferguson’s men can cope with similar tactics on Saturday.
“We have to focus and concentrate and then it won’t be a big deal to handle the things that we know will come,” Vidic said. “Obviously their players have a different mentality to us. But it won’t be a problem to deal with these things. They may do things and argue more than they should do but it won’t affect us.
“I don’t think we have any doubt the mentality of the players in our team and their ability to handle this. We know each other and play for each other and trust each other.
“I was there in Moscow. It was my first final and there was lots happening on the field that I had to deal with. I dealt with it and I am sure all of us will deal with it this time.”
Rio Ferdinand admits he was also surprised to see some of the shenanigans over the two legs in Spain but believes United can deal with the situation.
“I just think that some people do that,” he said. “It is the way the game has gone nowadays It is just the way it is. It wasn’t just Barcelona, Real Madrid were doing the same things. And if you watch games all over Europe, players in all different teams do the same.
“It was just that those semi-finals were such massive games that everything was so magnified.”
With questions about the ongoing controversy over Ryan Giggs’ private life off-limits, Ferguson has insisted that Barcelona will have plenty to worry about at Wembley.
Guardiola’s side have been built up for a couple of years and have improved significantly even since they overcame United in 2009.
But Ferguson feels that United’s threats are being overlooked and said: “I’ve just got to trust my players that they can perform on Saturday and that makes a difference. I know they’ll be ready and I think they’ll represent us very well.”
“We’ve played against Barcelona three times with Lionel Messi in the team and there’s always a solution to every good player and we hope we can find a solution on Saturday. But you’ve also got to recognise that they have other good players and we have good players and that is why it’s such an appealing game. I’m sure Barcelona are aware of the threats we can offer and hopefully that is the case.”
Michael Owen has started just once in the Premier League this season and fears that he will not even be involved in Ferguson’s 18-man squad for Wembley.
The former England striker, 31, is out of contract this summer and is likely to be released after two years at Old Trafford, although he claims he have held one round of talks about his future. “There has been one chat,” Owen said.
“I don’t want to speak to the manager prior to a Champions League final, he’s got much bigger things on his plate. Straight after the match, then we’ll talk.
“I always have my own thoughts going into the game and I might not even have a place on the bench but I will be imagining it. If you don’t think something can happen then you have no chance of it happening.
“I will have private moments when I drift away and think about different things that could happen. You have to prepare mentally.”
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