Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic is relishing his return from injury next season, and is anticipating intense competition for places as he looks to regain his place in the side.
The 30-year-old suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury back in December which ended his campaign prematurely, and the defender has been a huge loss to Sir Alex Ferguson's men as they surrendered their Premier League title to local rivals Manchester City.
Vidic will miss United's pre-season tour, but is expected to return in time for the start of 2012-13.
Asked if he thinks it will be difficult to get back in to the starting line-up, the Serbian stopper told MUTV: "Definitely. Jonny [Evans] has had a great year. I think Chris [Smalling] as well, before he got injured, is looking for that position as central defender. Rio [Ferdinand] is fit after a long time and was fit for so many games so we now have really big competition next year.
"I don't mind that. I don't think any player minds that. It makes you train harder, play better and obviously we have so many games during the season that we need good players."
Reflecting on the season overall, Vidic thinks a return of 89 points for a team that is still in transition is a remarkable achievement, despite the fact it ultimately wasn't enough to retain the domestic trophy.
What it will do, however, is make United's players even more determined to bring the Premier League crown back to Old Trafford next year in an attempt to ensure bragging rights return to the Red side of Manchester.
"We cannot say we did well because we didn't win a trophy obviously," he continued. "But we have to remember a few players left, a few young players had to get used to playing every week for a club like Manchester United and we always have high expectations.
"The young players did well and it was great experience for them this season. I think they managed really well but didn't have the luck in the end.
"I definitely believe we're going to be better next year. We want the trophy back. You have to remember we've had so much success in the past few years but generations have changed with new players.
"The club is looking to the future. We have to take some positives from this year. I believe next year will be a good year for the club and I believe we can win trophies again."
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