Vidic: ‘Phil Jones is better than Van Dijk’

Nemanja Vidic said he would not swap any of Manchester United’s defenders for Virgil van Dijk or his Liverpool team-mates, while praising Victor Lindelof.

United led the Premier League with 19 clean sheets in 2017-18 yet their goal has been breached in all but six of their 26 matches this season.

Despite that, Lindelof has been praised as one of United’s better performers, the 24-year-old has established himself at the heart of the club’s defence after a poor first campaign at United.

“I think [Lindelof] had a difficult time in the beginning,” Vidic told Omnisport .

“Well done to him to come back. It’s not easy, especially playing for Man United, big club, to not start that well and have criticism from the media.

“To come back from that and now perform well, it shows some character as well, which is important if you want to play for Man United.

“He has some quality definitely. He has done really well. I think Phil Jones did well in the recent games he played, Chris Smalling is a good defender, [Eric] Bailly as well. I think we have four solid defenders and with the right match I think they can perform to the best of their capabilities.

“Overall, I said even before when they didn’t have great games, if you look at the other teams, I would not have any defenders of Liverpool or Chelsea, I don’t think they have better defenders than we have.

“I think now the team is playing better, they have more confidence and there will come even better matches from them.”

Liverpool are the team with the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season, their 14 two more than Manchester City’s 12.

“I think he’s doing a great job – he’s strong physically, he’s fast, he’s a presence on the pitch,” Vidic said of Van Dijk.

“He’s a great defender, top defender, but I’m saying when teams are doing well, everyone gets recognition. I know that because I played for Man United and when you’re doing well, when you’re scoring goals, [getting] a few clean sheets, straight away people start talking about how good you are.

“And maybe you play some good matches when the team lost but people didn’t recognise that. I think when you start winning, when you start having clean sheets, you’re getting more recognition.

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“I think that’s why I like to believe that we have good defenders [at United] and I think [the form] has been better coming from our defenders and the whole team, I think.”


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