Nemanja Vidic explains why he struggled so much against Fernando Torres

Vidic was commentating on the Manchester Derby

Manchester United could certainly do with a defender like Nemanja Vidic this season.

For the sixth game in a row, Victor Lindelof partnered Chris Smalling at centre-back for the 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

The pair have conceded 14 goals in 11 games together this season, with the Red Devils now 12 points off the pace in the title race.

Vidic, who retired in 2016, was working on the game as a pundit for BeIN Sports and it must have been a difficult watch for the five-time Premier League title winner.

The former Serbia international could only look on as David Silva, Sergio Aguero, and finally, Ilkay Gundogan got the better of the current crop of players.

However, while the 37-year-old was one of English football's most formidable defenders back in his day, he remembers only too well what it was like to be turned inside out in a derby of the highest importance.

Vidic had a number of nightmare showings against Liverpool, being sent off three times and famously struggling against Fernando Torres.

Vidic recalls playing Liverpool 

“I loved it [playing at Anfield], that’s why I got two red cards there! I enjoyed it too much!" he joked.

“I was sent off three times against Liverpool but never for anything on Torres. Gerrard once, I think Alonso. It was two yellows actually."

Of the three goals Torres scored against Manchester United, only one came at Anfield.

Yet, arguably Vidic's most torrid afternoon came as Liverpool humbled the Red Devils 4-1 at Old Trafford.

Vidic won the title five times with United

And when asked by presenter Richard Keys why the Spanish striker caused him so many problems, both on that occasion and on so many others, Vidic reflected:

Why Torres got the better of him 

“Torres was a top player. At the time he was probably the best striker in the league. He scored a few goals against United.

“In the Premier League, I had some good games against Drogba, sometimes bad. I played well against Torres one week then one game bad, that’s the Premier League. You’re not going to be on top of your game every week.

A Torres masterclass beat United 4-1 in 2009

“It’s why I like the Premier League. In one game you’re going to be against a strong player like Drogba, the next it’ll be a Torres or Aguero.

“If people see me live, they say ‘I thought you were much bigger!’ I was never big, but I gave everything in challenges.

“It’s why I never got bigger because I knew the next week I’d have Torres or Aguero so I never spent as much time in the gym as you have to adapt to players."

On his day, Torres could cause even the very best defenders problems and he must have absolutely relished facing Vidic.

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