Nemanja Vidic insists facing Fernando Torres will hold no fears for him at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
The Manchester United skipper is enjoying arguably his best season since arriving at Old Trafford five years ago.
At Wigan on Saturday, Vidic was his usual obdurate self, combining with veteran goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to keep the Latics at bay during their enterprising opening.
However, after guiding United to a 4-0 win that put them four points ahead of nearest title challengers Arsenal, Vidic knows his next test is arguably his hardest.
Torres may be yet to score for Chelsea since his record £50million move from Liverpool but the Spain star has terrorised Vidic often enough for the Serbian to be very wary about their next meeting.
Yet, the theory that Vidic is actually traumatised by his meetings with Torres is simply not true.
‘Sometimes you read people saying that certain players have a hard job to play against someone else,’ said Vidic.
‘Obviously, this is the opinion some people have (about him and Torres) because they always mention it.
‘I don’t have a problem with that. I can only change it on the pitch, not by saying what I think in the media. It actually just makes me more focused to do my job.’
There is another common theory that has attached itself to this week’s clash, namely that Chelsea, who have now slipped 15 points adrift of United, will be out of the running if they fail to win.
John Terry said as much last week and Vidic is hardly going to disagree. ‘They are so many points behind, it would be very difficult for them to come back,’ he said.
‘But anything can happen. If you look at the league and how many points we have lost and the games Chelsea lost in a row, you never know.’
Even though Rio Ferdinand has been ruled out, in Vidic and Chris Smalling, United have a central defensive pairing at the top of their game.
Smalling is benefiting from the gentle cajoling he receives from his vastly experienced team-mate, who tends to be on hand when mistakes have been made.
Such performances as yesterday’s have raised the possibility that the PFA may opt to elect a non-superstar as their player of the year given the most obvious choices, aside from Arsenal duo Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, have lacked the consistency Vidic has shown all campaign.
‘It is not for me to decide whether I have ever played better,’ he added. ‘I just try to limit my mistakes.
“As long as I am thinking like that I will keep myself on a good level.
‘In all honesty, I am never happy with my game. I want to improve all the time.’
Copyright 2011 by The Daily Mail