Vidic hails fans for Rooney backing
Manchester United skipper Nemanja Vidic was not surprised by the backing Wayne Rooney received from the Old Trafford faithful against Chelsea.
Rather than behave negatively towards a player who has failed to quell interest from the west Londoners that has led to two failed bids and Jose Mourinho's 48-hour ultimatum, Rooney was cheered enthusiastically throughout the drab goalless draw.
It was not a stance that caught Vidic off guard.
"The supporters have always supported the players," said the Serbian.
"Wayne is no different. He has been supported throughout the years and I don't think there was a question he would have been supported against Chelsea.
"He has scored so many goals and won so many trophies. I expected him to receive a good reception."
If there is a disappointment it comes from the knowledge Rooney's desire to leave the club remains.
Press Association Sport understands Rooney's position is not so severe that he will hand in a transfer request ahead of next Monday's deadline.
Neither does he have a problem with manager David Moyes, United as a club, or the fans and, much like Monday night, will continue to perform to the best of his abilities whenever he is asked.
However, the issues that prompted him to consider an exit from Old Trafford remain.
Whilst they have never been publicly revealed, it was established some considerable time ago that Rooney was deeply affected by Sir Alex Ferguson's stance towards him at the end of last season, in particular the Scot's claim he had asked for a move.
In fact, Rooney had merely requested clarification of his position within the United squad given his omission from some key games, including the high-profile Champions League tie with Real Madrid in March.
And whilst Ferguson has now stepped down as manager, and at this present moment is not a presence at Old Trafford as he continues his recovery from hip surgery, Rooney believes he will eventually exert sufficient influence to make the former Everton man's situation uncomfortable.
United though have shown no indication of being willing to enter any discussion about Rooney's future.
As the forward still has two years remaining on his contract, they hold most of the power.
And whilst some at United accept there is at least an argument for releasing Rooney, with a new manager at the helm and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward taking over the player negotiating roles of departed chief executive David Gill, they also believe a hard line must be taken.
Woodward and Moyes do not want to be seen as buckling at the first sign of player pressure for fear of what that may bring over the long term.
So, with Rooney opting not to force the issue further, he must now wait to see whether Mourinho - who following Monday night's game indicated the player needed to confirm his intentions within 48 hours - carries out his threat to sign an alternative, possibly Samuel Eto'o, to end any immediate hope of a move to Stamford Bridge.
The Rooney issue has at least provided an interesting post-script to an otherwise dismal game.
Mourinho's decision to start without a recognised forward has been cited as a contributory factor, although United got themselves into enough threatening positions without being able to take advantage.
"I don't think so," said Vidic, when asked if it was a game United preferred not to lose rather than actually win.
"We had more possession around their box than they had round ours. Robin (van Persie) had a shot blocked and Danny Welbeck had a chance.
"It was a tactical game which is why you could argue it was not great to watch. But it wasn't a bad game for us."
It does mean United remain unbeaten ahead of Sunday's trip to old rivals Liverpool, who have started with successive victories.
Yet Vidic has been part of the Red Devils camp long enough to realise form tends to have no bearing on such high-octane occasions, with the atmosphere likely to be even more fevered than normal given Moyes' Everton past.
"It is always tough to go there," said Vidic. "It is going to be no different this year. They have started well with two wins and they have some confidence.
"But we are pleased with our form too and we will be ready. All the players enjoy playing in those derby games. They are the games you want to be on the pitch for."