Nemanja Vidic has sent an ominous message to Manchester United's Premier League title rivals by predicting the club will get even stronger in the second half of the season.
United trail Manchester City by three points in the race for the title and exited the Champions League and League Cup before Christmas.
Despite being without Vidic and midfielder Darren Fletcher for the remainder of the season, the Serbian defender believes the reigning champions will only get stronger in the second-half of the campaign.
"How we finish is most important. We will be better," Vidic said.
Vidic's injury problems has been compounded by the infrequent appearances of fellow defenders Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
While neighbours City have been thrilling onlookers for much of the season, including when they put six past United at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson's side have yet to hit top gear in the search for their 20th league title.
But Vidic added: "I'm positive We've had problems with injuries but it seems all the players are getting back and getting fitter.
"We will be better than we were in the first half of the season.
"It's not bad for the city of Manchester to have two teams competing for the title - as long as we finish in first place."