Fletcher: I won't change my game
DARREN Fletcher is prepared to put his trust in referees and won't ditch his tackling game to clean up his crime sheet. Official Mark Clattenburg sent off the United midfielder for two yellow cards at Birmingham City on Saturday. Sir Alex Ferguson described the dismissal as a "soft one." Fletcher, who was sent off at the Emirates last season in the Champions League semi-final, was also critically penalised last November at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Then Martin Atkinson blew for an alleged foul by Fletcher on Ashley Cole and from the resulting free-kick the Reds lost the only goal of the game against their title rivals. Fletcher told the media after the game in London that Arsene Wenger's comments after Arsenal's match at Old Trafford in September were catching up on him. Fletcher fear The fear was Fletcher's combative game was making him a marked man in the eyes of the men in the middle. The Gunners' French boss had moaned that a United player had been kicking his Arsenal players. While he didn't name Fletcher as the culprit he made it very plain it was the 25-year-old Scot who was the target of the complaint. But despite Fletcher's disciplinary stats being hit, he refuses to alter his game. "Saturday was disappointing because I was constantly being fouled and when I said something the ref said to me it is a man's game. "So I went in hard and he books me! Then he booked me again for nothing really," Fletcher told M.E.N. Sport. "You don't want to miss games for any reason and to miss one for suspension disrupts things for me. "We have enough midfielders so I am sure someone will come in and do a good job. "But someone coming in and doing well could mean I can't get back into the side and that is the risk. "But I cannot afford to think of that when I play. I play every game for the moment and I don't look too far forward. "We needed to get stuck in against Birmingham and battle and that is what I did. I didn't concern myself with any possible consequences. Fletcher added: "You have to trust the referees that they are not going to take notice of what people say or write. "They have to judge each game and referee it fairly and that is all I can ask. "I am not a dirty player by any stretch of the imagination. I go in for the ball and sometimes I might mistime it make a foul. "But I am not a dirty player. I don't know whether all this goes back to the Wenger comments. "He said what he said and all I can hope for is that referees are going to be fair and they usually are to be honest." United disruption Fletcher is currently in Qatar for warm-weather training with the Reds squad and some of the time will be spent with the experienced players passing on their knowledge of a so-called Old Trafford `crisis' to new and younger United recruits. The midfielder says United must use the bad press as an incentive. "It hasn't been the easiest of times. There has been a lot of disruption," added Fletcher. "The injuries in defence have seen players playing all over the place, myself included. "It is difficult to get a run of form when things like that happen. "We have not had a settled squad. It has been an injury disrupted season. We are still in touch though and that is all we could ask for. "We need to get everyone fit and for the manager to be able to choose a settled team. We need everyone fit and fighting towards the end of the season. "That is the most important thing. If we can get people fit in the next week or two we can kick on. "Nothing has developed into a real run yet. But there is a run in this team. We have been written off all season. We need to use all that as a fuel." He added: "When you are young and naïve it can affect you. But I had very experienced players around me when I first broke through who pointed out the reality of it. The older ones have passed it down. "The likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville told me not to worry about it because they'd experienced it and you get through it. "You learn from it and it is what being part of this club is all about. You get used to and respond to it. "Everyone wants to shoot you down when you are successful and you have to have the character to take that on board and fight back. That is the challenge." How much will United miss Fletcher? Have your say.
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