Manchester United star Darren Fletcher prepared for tough battle against Stoke

03 January 2011 02:15
Manchester United star Darren Fletcher admits the Reds are prepared for a tough battle against Stoke on Tuesday night.

Tony Pulis's Stoke side are likely to provide the toughest of opposition for United, who have already played three games over the festive period.

'We know what to expect from Stoke,' Fletcher told Manchester United's website.

Up for the battle: Darren Fletcher in action against West Bromwich on Saturday

'They've really consolidated themselves as a Premier League side and Tony Pulis has done a great job. You know you're in for a battle when you play Stoke and you have to win that battle and earn the right to play.

'It's going to be a difficult game. We experienced that at the Britannia and we're expecting more of the same at Old Trafford. They always have a go. They look at home in the Premier League now and they know what it's all about.

'They have some players who like to attack and Tony Pulis doesn't like his side to sit back. We expect them to come and have a go at us, as most teams have done at Old Trafford this season.'

Stoke are known for their direct approach, but Fletcher insisted they could also play some good football.

Heading for victory: Hernandez scores during United's win at Stoke back in October

'Stoke have some good footballers in their side,' he said. 'Etherington and Pennant in the wide positions like to get at you and dribble. They've definitely got options.

'They can go direct if they want to but they also have some good footballers up front, players like Ricardo Fuller and Tuncay, who like the ball to their feet and can play some good stuff on the ground.

'You know Stoke will be physical at times because they lump free-kicks and long throw-ins into the box but we can't neglect the other ways they can cause problems. It's important you defend as a team and that starts with the front players.

'Our defensive performances have been very good and we'll do our homework and prepare for Stoke's threat. We know they'll be a danger from set-pieces - they're a big, strong, physical side, so we'll have to match them and make sure we're on our toes.'

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Source: Daily_Mail

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