Nemanja Matic has made a sly dig at Virgil van Dijk (Picture: Getty)Former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic claims Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk is not a better defender than Chris Smalling or Phil Jones.
The Dutchman is this season’s favourite to be named PFA Player of the Year after his dominant performances for title-chasing Liverpool.
The Reds have conceded just 15 times in the league this season, 20 times fewer than Manchester United  who have conceded over 1.5 goals a game so far this term.
Nevertheless, Vidic – who will be in the Sky Sports studio for Sunday’s showdown at Old Trafford – says Van Dijk would not get in United’s side.
Van Dijk is favourite to be named PFA Player of the Year (Picture :Getty)‘I think [Lindelof] had a difficult time in the beginning,” Vidic told Omnisport .
‘Well done to him to come back. It’s not easy, especially playing for Man United, big club, to not start that well and have criticism from the media.
‘To come back from that and now perform well, it shows some character as well, which is important if you want to play for Man United.
‘I think Phil Jones did well in the recent games he played, Chris Smalling is a good defender, [Eric] Bailly as well. I think we have four solid defenders and with the right match I think they can perform to the best of their capabilities.
‘Overall, I said even before when they didn’t have great games, if you look at the other teams, I would not have any defenders of Liverpool or Chelsea, I don’t think they have better defenders than we have.
‘I think now the team is playing better, they have more confidence and there will come even better matches from them.’
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Vidic spent eight years at Old Trafford, winning five league titles and a Champions League title in the north-west.
The 36-year-old admits Van Dijk is a fantastic defender but says the spotlight is on him right now because of Liverpool’s title tilt.
‘I think he’s doing a great job – he’s strong physically, he’s fast, he’s a presence on the pitch,’ Vidic added of Van Dijk.
‘He’s a great defender, top defender, but I’m saying when teams are doing well, everyone gets recognition. I know that because I played for Man United and when you’re doing well, when you’re scoring goals, [getting] a few clean sheets, straight away people start talking about how good you are.’
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