When Vidic side-footed home Wayne Rooney's corner an hour into the Premier League encounter to stretch their lead to three goals, no-one imagined United would end up clinging on for a 4-3 win.

Yet that is exactly what transpired as Bernard Mendy hauled the Tigers back into it with a well-taken effort before earning the penalty Geovanni rammed home to test the Red Devils' nerves.

In the end, the damage was no greater than a failure to give their goal difference a shove in the right direction. But Vidic knows United were perilously close to a draw that would have been disastrous for their title aspirations.

"That must not happen again," he said.

"Nobody could believe it. I wouldn't say the last few minutes were hard, but we were under pressure.

"We should not be losing goals like that. There is no need to worry but we have to think about it because we must erase the mistakes."

Vidic denied United had allowed an element of complacency to creep into their play, even though, for the third time in a week, Sir Alex Ferguson was critical of the number of chances that went begging.

"We knew Hull were a good team," said Vidic.

"They have surprised Arsenal already this season and they have 20 points, which says something about them."

Ferguson could take some of the blame for a cavalier attitude which had his three £30million strikers, plus Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs on the field at the same time.

In piling forward, the Red Devils left big holes at the back, offering Mendy in particular enough space to cause mayhem.

By the final whistle, a breathless crowd had been treated to a contest that will live long in the memory and provided further evidence that Hull might be around for a good while yet.

The visitors had already served notice they would not be shaken off easily when Daniel Cousin levelled Ronaldo's third-minute opener.

But when Michael Carrick and Ronaldo, whose four goals in two games takes him on to seven for the season and 99 career goals for United, struck before half-time there seemed only one winner, a position Vidic's strike only reinforced.

"It was a strange game," admitted Carrick.

"Being so close at the end did not really fit with how the game went. We created so many chances and played some extremely good football but we shot ourselves in the foot with a few errors.

"In the end it was a bit crazy really."

It was the first time a visiting team had scored three times at Old Trafford since Chelsea in 2005 and the first time anyone managed three and ended up on the losing side since Ronaldo's famous hat-trick for Real Madrid two years before that.

However, given the downfalls of Arsenal and previous leaders Liverpool, winning was imperative, with Carrick doubly delighted given he marked his return to Ferguson's line-up for the first time in seven weeks by getting on the scoresheet.

"It was nice to score and get off the mark," he said."

"It was the longest I have played in three months so hopefully that is going to get my fitness up ready for the coming weeks."

Carrick may find himself back on the bench on Wednesday, with Scotland international Darren Fletcher pencilled in for a return on 'home' soil against Celtic at Parkhead.

A more notable inclusion could be England international Ben Foster who is expected to finally make his Champions League bow after a catalogue of injuries over the past 18 months.

With seven points from three games, victory would put the defending champions into the knock-out phase with two games to spare, although, as United discovered to their cost two years ago, Celtic can never be discounted on home soil.

"When you step away from it, we have won the game and got three points," mused Carrick.

"Now we can move on to Celtic."