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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vidic canvassing support

As the United players ready themselves to defend the Reds' English and European crowns, Nemanja Vidic says the supporters have a big part to play in the long season ahead.

When the Reds really needed backing during the Double trophy-winning campaign last term - Blackburn and Barcelona in April immediately spring to mind - United's army of supporters never went missing.

"The support we had was terrific," says Vidic. "In some games, it was as if the fans were deciding how the match would end."

After Carlos Tevez's late equaliser against Blackburn, Vidic commented that United's away supporters had willed the ball into the back of the net.

But it wasn't just on the road that United fans found their voice. The celebrations that met Paul Scholes' strike against Barcelona and, more importantly, the final whistle, are a spine-tingling recollection for any fan there on the night.

The message from Vidic is for fans not underestimate the part they can play, especially at Old Trafford.

"We always have fantastic support away from home," he added. "And at Old Trafford the fans have started to put real pressure on the opposition - they made it very intimidating for other teams.

"The fans are great. I hope they're as vocal this season."

Keano gives up on Evans

Sunderland manager Roy Keane appears to have conceded defeat in his bid to take United defender Jonny Evans to Wearside in a permanent deal.

The 20-year-old Northern Ireland international impressed during two loan spells with the Black Cats, helping them attain Premier League status in 2006/07 and preserve it last term.

Sir Alex Ferguson has always resisted any temptation to permanently part with the promising young centre back, however, even in the face of rumoured multi-million pound bids from Keane.

For the Sunderland boss, United's sale of Gerard Pique to Barcelona represented the end of his chase for Evans.

"My mindset was always that Jonny was going to go back to United," said Keane. "When United sold Pique we were pretty sure they would hold on to Jonny."

Evans featured during United's pre-season campaign, and is expected to remain part of Sir Alex's first team plans as the Reds start the defence of the Double this weekend.

Spurs set record fee for Berbatov

White Hart Lane chief Daniel Levy was left incandescent by claims from United that they were on the verge of competing a deal for the Bulgarian hitman, before Tottenham had even received a formal offer. Now Spurs will demand a British record fee in excess of the £32million United agreed to complete the full transfer of Carlos Tevez. While Tottenham had put a £30m price tag on Berbatov's head, they had been privately willing to settle for £28m.
Martin Lipton, The Mirror