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'Big game' tag won't wash with Daz - United star set to put Chelsea in a spin

04 Nov 2009 16:39:04

'Big game' tag won't wash with Daz - United star set to put Chelsea in a spin

Darren Fletcher is not allowing himself to get affected by his new tag as Manchester United's "big game player". Fletcher returned to action after a month's absence with an ankleinjury against CSKA Moscow, just in time for Sunday'scrucial Premier League showdown with Chelsea. And it would seem the Scot will be one of the first names on Sir Alex Ferguson's team-sheet too. Great Scot: Darren Fletcher holds off CSKA Moscow's Deividas Semberas Certainly, United missed Fletcher's battling qualities againstLiverpool a fortnight ago, with the hole his injury left proving justas troublesome to fill as it did in Rome last May, when Barcelona ranriot in the Champions League final. Ferguson is unlikely to leave his team similarly exposed at the weekend now Fletcher is a proven top-class performer. High praise: Sir Alex Ferguson For a player whose early days in the Red Devils' first-team were dismissed rather crudely, the plaudits must sound nice. But Fletcher insists he is not taking them too seriously. "I take the compliments with a pinch of salt," he said. "I enjoy these matches as much as anyone and I put pressure on myself to perform more than anyone does. "The challenge of playing against the top-class players thatChelsea have is one I look forward to and I will be doing my best towin the match. "But I am not going to make or break games like this." As someone who, during Jose Mourinho's time with the Blues, scoreda winner against Chelsea at Old Trafford, Fletcher understandscompletely how tense such affairs can be. With the Londoners currently sitting on top of the Premier Leaguetable and United two points adrift in second, there is no reason tobelieve Sunday's showdown will be any less fraught. Not that Fletcher feels it will have a massive bearing on whoeventually goes on to clinch the championship. There is far too muchfootball to be played for that. "Sunday is a massive game. Games against Chelsea always are," he said. "It is not going to make or break who wins the league by any means, although it is an important benchmark. "Maybe psychologically it might have an effect. But Chelsea are a top-class side and we will respect them." Battle of Stamford Bridge: Patrice Evra (right) clashes with Chelsea's groundsman last season It is seven years since United enjoyed the taste of victory at Stamford Bridge. They have managed a couple of draws there in the last three years,although they are split by the ill-tempered defeat in April 2008 whichlanded Patrice Evra with a four-match suspension. Respective combatants from both sides are hoping for a lessfractious affair this time around, with Fletcher purely focused oncollecting those long-awaited three points. "It would be good to win," he said. "We have had a couple of draws down there but we have still not managed to win in the league and we are desperate to do it. "But we will go there with a game-plan and try to get a result." Fletcher will hope to emerge from Tuesday night's outing in slightly better shape than he went in. His latest injury has been a frustrating one to recover from and he knows it will take a bit of time to regain full fitness. "It is nice to get back into the team and get 90 minutes under my belt because I have not played for a while," he said. "I felt fine, which was the most important thing, although I wasnot 100 per cent with my touch and awareness on the pitch. But the game willhelp and, if selected, I should feel the benefit on Sunday."  Chelsea don't worry us but we must beware of the Drog, says NevilleFergie: Forget it Rafa and Arsene, the title race is between me and CarloBrowned off: Chelsea will expose us if we repeat poor defending, warns WesSir Alex calls for UEFA to change rules after ref justice for United star FletcherMANCHESTER UNITED FC


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