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Fletcher fears defensive approach

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25 Mar 2009 17:00:00

Fletcher fears defensive approach

Darren Fletcher has helped Manchester United overcome opponents playing for draws so he knows the dangers of Scotland showing no ambition. The midfielder insists Scotland will pay for an over-cautious approach at the Amsterdam ArenA on Saturday night. Scotland manager George Burley is likely to play with one striker in the World Cup qualifier but he has told his players to take the game to the Dutch when the opportunity arises. Fletcher accepts he has to employ a different approach than his attack-minded club side but he is eager to put Scotland on the front foot whenever possible."It is a different mindset, you have got to prepare for the games in a different way," Fletcher said. "It's sometimes difficult because you're used to being in the ascendancy. Teams sit in and you're trying to break them down. "It flips a little bit, where Scotland are a little bit more resilient and hard to break down. "But it can't just be backs to the wall for 90 minutes. The manager reiterates that all the time - there have got to be times when we take the game to them. "We're not going to dominate them but there's got to be times when we are good enough to keep possession and create chances."It's a lottery if you sit behind the ball for 90 minutes. You might nick a goal but if you lose one, the game plan goes out the window. "We have got to prepare for taking the game to Holland at stages as well." Nevertheless, Fletcher is aware of the dangers of going out to attack Holland at every opportunity. He is one of the survivors from the previous meeting in 2003 when Berti Vogts employed a 4-4-2 formation with winger Neil McCann in midfield. "We did that (attack) the last time and got beat 6-0 so I think it will be a little bit more cautious approach this time," Fletcher said. That game, early in his first full season as a first-team player, was only Fletcher's fourth cap. He has since played in FA Cup finals and Champions League semi-finals, but he will not feel fulfilled unless he appears in a major international championship. Scotland came close to reaching their first finals for a decade until a last-minute goal against Italy killed off their Euro 2008 hopes. And Fletcher is desperate to help Scotland reach the World Cup finals by steering them through Group Nine."I don't know if (internationals) are even bigger but they are massive games," the 25-year-old said. "It's always an honour to represent your country. They are massive games because I want to play in a major competition, I want to play in the World Cup. It doesn't get much better than that."All the squad are desperate to do that. It's something the nation has not achieved in a long time. "We were nearly, nearly, nearly men a couple of times and we want to lose that tag. We want to make that last step. With some good performances and bit of luck we can do that." Fletcher will probably get the chance to play in more finals this season as United chase a quintet of trophies.The midfielder has defied doubters who thought he would have to leave Old Trafford to get regular first-team football, making 31 club appearances so far this season. And he is confident his Old Trafford exploits will help him in the World Cup double-header against Holland and Iceland."I've played a lot more games than last season which was the real aim," he said. "Sometimes it's hard not playing for a couple of weeks - you've got to come in and perform at a high level at Manchester United."When you're playing regularly your form improves and I have definitely noticed that this season."


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