Man Utd 'can cope without Vidic', says Gary Pallister

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Nemanja Vidic
Vidic suffered knee ligament damage in the Champions League defeat by Basel

Former Manchester United defender Gary Pallister says Sir Alex Ferguson does not need to move into the transfer market to replace Nemanja Vidic.

Vidic was ruled out for the season after suffering a knee injury against Basel on Wednesday.

"It's very bad news but I don't see Sir Alex rushing out with the chequebook," Pallister told BBC Sport.

"I think they have got enough cover in there with Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling."

However, Pallister, who played for United between 1989 and 1998, said that another long-term injury to a central defender might force Ferguson to act in January.

Pallister added: "It is a massive blow because Nemanja is one of those players you can look to when the going gets tough.

"He is very strong, very committed, one of those you want alongside you in your team. That is one of the reasons Sir Alex made him captain.

"He is an excellent defender, in the mould of Steve Bruce when I played alongside him at Old Trafford.

"Nemanja is the type of guy the other players rally around and his attitude and personality rubs off on other people on the pitch."

Nevertheless, Pallister insists the loss of the 30-year-old Serbian could provide an opportunity for United's younger central defensive candidates to shine in his absence.

Phil Jones is 19, Jonny Evans 23 and Chris Smalling is 22.

He said: "They have got players who can come in there and blossom. Phil Jones has been playing in central midfield and, with Nemanja being out for such a long time, it might be a chance for him and others to get in there and show what they can do.

"I don't see Sir Alex going into the market for a centre-half. Hopefully Nemanja will make a full recovery and be back for next season. I think he will look to those he has already got.

"Nemanja's injury obviously makes it a bad week for United. To go out of the Champions League at this [group] stage casts a bit of a shadow over Old Trafford because nobody expected it.

"Now they will have to deal with it, but Sir Alex has great experience in handling these situations."