Fletcher - United must respond
Darren Fletcher wants Manchester United to turn up the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City by beating Newcastle.
Last Updated: 25/11/11 8:55am
Darren Fletcher wants Manchester United to turn up the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City by beating Newcastle United on Saturday.
United trail their local rivals by five points and have a chance to reduce the gap as City are not in action until Sunday when they travel to Liverpool.
The title holders head into the Newcastle game on the back of a 2-2 draw at home with Benfica which has left the Red Devils' qualification for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League in the balance.
City are also in danger of being eliminated from Europe's elite club competition and Fletcher is keen to ensure United start racking up the wins.
"The only results we can control are our own," said Fletcher.
"But we know if we play to the level we are capable of then we can win matches and put Manchester City under pressure.
"We need to respond as quickly as possible by trying to get a win against Newcastle."
Aside from the blip against Benfica in midweek, Sir Alex Ferguson's side have tightened up defensively of late since the 6-1 home mauling by City.
United followed up that humiliation with five successive clean sheets and Fletcher feels it was necessary to tone down the thrill-a-minute approach which had characterised the early weeks of the campaign.
"We knew we were a little bit too open," said Fletcher. "We were conceding a lot of chances and that ultimately came to a head against Manchester City.
"Recently we have gone on a run where we have not conceded a goal in five matches.
"People were criticising the performance levels but it was the natural reaction to losing six goals.
"We are not going to play well all the time. But we have great quality in this squad.
"The manager believes in the players and we believe in ourselves."