Darren Fletcher has given his thoughts on that red card, being the only Scot in the squad, life after Ronaldo, beating Wigan and Michael Owen.
“I try not to think about it,” Fletcher said when asked about missing out on the Champions League final. “Obviously it’s happened but what’s done is done. I felt at the time it was a wrong decision and then the TV replays confirmed it. A lot of people said I should have just let him score but that’s not in my nature. I play from the first minute to the last minute. I dunno if that’s naive or what, but that’s how I play. It was my job to match Fabregas’ run and stop him from scoring. I feel I did that rightly and the referee gave me a red card. But that’s in the past now and I just need to look forward to this season and try and get myself in another Champions League final.”
Fletcher was then asked to describe himself as a football player, something which he initially found hard to do.
“Someone who gives 100% every match,” he said. “Someone who is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater of the team, someone who enjoyed his football, and enjoys being at Manchester United.”
Being the only Scot in the team, Fletcher was asked whether he gets accused of being picked because of the manager’s favouritism.
“I’ve had that my whole career,” Fletcher said with a smile. “It’s water off a ducks back now. It’s something I’ve learn to get used to. I’ve learnt it doesn’t matter what nationality you are, the manager will pick the best team. So yeh, I’ve had a bit of stick over that, but I don’t hold back in giving that stick back!”
Every United player who is interviewed is asked what impact Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit has had on the team but I’d say Darren answers it better than anyone else has so far.
“Nothing has changed because it’s still the same group of lads,” he said. “We feel like we’re the same team. We won the league as a team, we reached the Champions league final as a team. We’ve lost a top class player but as much as Ronaldo gave to us as a fantastic player, we gave to him as well, we sacrificed ourselves for him. That’s what goes on in a team. Hopefully now we can be more solid, we’ll be 4-4-2, but you’ll see Manchester United, same old, same old going out to win games, please the fans and attack the opposition.”
After losing 1-0 to Burnley, United came back to beat Wigan 5-0 in their next game. Fletcher was asked what training was like in the days between those games.
“There was disappointment after Burnley, don’t get me wrong, because we’re not used to losing games and nobody likes to lose games,” he continued. “But nothing drastically changes, we speak about the defeat and what went wrong, and we learn from that. We get that bit more determination to get it right in the next game.”
Michael Owen got his first goal for United in that 5-0 win and Fletcher reckons the goals will start flowing now.
“I think you could see by the reaction from the player, from the fans, from the bench, from the staff, everyone was so pleased for him,” he said. “He’s shown great determination and enthusiasm. He really wants to prove people wrong. He’s at Manchester United, a great club, and he’s going to get plenty of chances and hopefully that first goal will kick-start him scoring plenty of goals for us.”
Speaking to the BBC.
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