Nemanja Vidic
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic is recovering well from a knee injury. REUTERS

Nemanja Vidic is confident Manchester United can retain the Premier League title without him and warned leaders Manchester City that the defending champions do not fear their local rivals.

Vidic, 30, will miss the rest of the season after sustaining a knee injury at the start of December, but he remains adamant that United are still the team to beat, despite the challenge of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester United are vying for their 20th league title and the Serbian defender insists the club's experience and the player's set to return from injury will prove crucial in the title run-in.

"Of course we are confident. We are challenging for the title and are only three points behind City," Vidic is quoted on Sky Sports.

"It's good for the city of Manchester to have two football teams doing well - there's a lot of talk and banter.

"It's always healthy to have competition and we don't mind it. It helps us to improve ourselves.

"But if you look at our history and commitment, you know we like to win all trophies and we are the team in Manchester who will keep doing that every year."

The Manchester United captain, who suffered knee ligament damage in Manchester United's 2-1 defeat at Basel in the Champions League on 7 December, said he is recovering well from the injury and hopes to be fit for the start of next season.

"Everything is going well. I had my operation three weeks ago and it's progressing in the right way. I still have a long way to go but I will be patient," he added.

"I have motivation to work hard and I want to be back as soon as possible.

"I want to be fit and at the same level I was at before the injury. That will push me to work hard.

"There is no timescale for my return. It's not about targeting a date, but I hope I will be right for the start of the season."