Nemanja Vidic accepts questions
Manchester United skipper Nemanja Vidic has accepted questions are being asked of the club as they prepare to begin their Premier League title defence.
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5. Nemanja Vidic
Whilst it was always obvious the arrival of David Moyes in place of Sir Alex Ferguson would bring a sense of weakness to Old Trafford, Vidic does not believe it is just a new manager that is bringing increased scrutiny.
For the Serbian accepts his team-mates also need to prove they can reach the levels of previous seasons without the spectre of Ferguson looming over them.
"People are questioning everyone," he said.
"People are asking whether we can win the trophy again. Can we still be champions?
"That is not just about the manager, it is the players as well. Can the players perform the same way as they did before?
"We are trying hard to show what we can do. We have a good work ethic to start with and everyone wants to put themselves back into contention.
"Most importantly, I see the hunger.
"I am pleased with that because we will definitely need it if we are going to achieve what we want this season."
With his own international career at an end, Vidic is in a minority of players who will be able to train at full throttle at United's rebranded Aon Training Complex this week.
Moyes was set to lose eight players to England seniors duty alone until Ashley Young withdrew from the friendly against Scotland due to an ankle injury that threatens his participation in Saturday's opener at Swansea.
Full-back Rafael would have missed out through suspension anyway, but is now facing at least four weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury suffered during the first-half at Wembley.
They are both blows for Moyes, who will want as many options as possible available to him for the encounter at the Liberty Stadium.
That game will be followed by matches against Chelsea and Liverpool, with a trip to Manchester City following not long afterwards, which raised an eyebrow from Moyes, who wondered whether someone at the Premier League was having fun at his expense.
Certainly Vidic has known nothing like it.
"It is the toughest start we have had since I have been here," he said.
"Obviously the first game is always important, especially when it is away.
"Swansea will be a tough place to go. They have some new signings.
"But I am looking forward to it.
"The players want to play big matches. They want to play hard matches.
"When you play for Manchester United you have to accept that challenge and be ready. You have to win every game."
It will be a welcome relief to Moyes that Vidic has recovered from the sciatica problem that prevented him flying out on United's epic tour of Australia and the Far East, where so much of their fitness work was undertaken.
"I did train with the reserves in England, so I had a pre-season," he said.
"It was just that I didn't have as many matches as the other players.
"But I have played two full 90 minutes now.
"I am feeling fit and as the season goes along and we have more games I will get better and better.
"But that is the same for every player.
"At the moment I feel really good and I am looking forward to the new season."