Manchester United must eradicate 'messy' errors to have chance of top-four finish, says Darren Fletcher
United miss chance to move third in Premier League after 2-1 defeat at Wolves; Fletcher concerned by loss of confidence after Fred's error led to Diogo Jota's equaliser
Last Updated: 03/04/19 6:09am
Manchester United have no room for error in the race for the top four after "messy mistakes" gifted Wolves victory at Molineux, according to Darren Fletcher.
United could have moved up to third in the Premier League with a win on Tuesday night, and looked on course to do so when Scott McTominay's first goal for the club handed the visitors a deserved lead.
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But a defensive mistake from Fred which led to Wolves' equaliser - scored by Diogo Jota - was the catalyst of United's downfall, and a Chris Smalling own goal, after Ashley Young's dismissal for two bookings, completed the hosts' comeback.
"United have to eradicate these messy mistakes because they are costing them massively," former United midfielder Fletcher told Sky Sports.
"There are not many games left now, United can hardly afford any more errors in this battle to finish in the top four.
"United probably have to go and win every game between now and the end of the season. That's the challenge that lies ahead.
"United have gifted the game to Wolves tonight - the red card, the first goal and even the winner. That was all Wolves did in the game really.
"The game was a game of chance, United had four or five and didn't take them, Wolves had two and were clinical. United had the better opportunities but their individual mistakes were punished."
United should have been three up midway through the first half, with Romelu Lukaku - in for the injured Marcus Rashford - and Jesse Lingard wasting glorious opportunities either side of McTominay's fine strike.
But United's positive start was undone when Fred's heavy touch from a David De Gea pass was ruthlessly punished by Jota.
Fletcher was concerned by United's inability to regain confidence after the error as they tasted defeat after scoring first in the Premier League for the first time since August 2015.
"The Fred mistake for the first goal caused the confidence to come out of the United team, they cannot afford for that to happen," Fletcher added.
"The confidence went out of not only Fred but the whole team, they were nervous on the ball and Wolves took advantage of that.
"That's something they need to improve, you're going to make mistakes but when you play at Manchester United you can't let one little thing affect you. United let decisions and incidents affect them too much tonight."