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Fletcher makes case for defence
Published : 12 Aug 2009 17:04:00
Darren Fletcher has predicted a more rigid Manchester United will be on show this season. With Cristiano Ronaldo now settled in at Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez moving down the road to Manchester City, Sir Alex Ferguson has had a bit of adjusting to do this summer. And, according to Fletcher, the outcome is an orthodox 4-4-2 formation that he believes will be good enough to terrorise opposition at home and abroad. "We have always been tight at the back because we have a great defensive record but maybe we have been a little bit too expansive at times," he said. "The ethos of the club is about attacking football. However, you can't be wide open and attacking all the time." He added: "You also have to be disciplined and I think you are going to see a more rigid 4-4-2 formation this season." At Wembley on Sunday, Fletcher was right at the heart of that formation, partnering Michael Carrick in the centre of midfield. Maybe it should not have been a surprise. For, as the close season dragged on, so Fletcher's abilities grew as reasons for United's lamentable Champions League final display were unearthed. The inescapable conclusion to draw was that United were passed to death by Barcelona duo Andres Iniesta and Xavi because Fletcher was suspended for the Rome showdown, consigned there due to the needless red card he picked up when the semi-final at Arsenal was already won. Not that Fletcher is about to let the adulation go to his head. "The only thing people have said to me this summer is that United missed me in Rome," he said. "It is nice to hear and I did feel I made a big step forward last season. "But sometimes you become a better player by not playing. People notice you because you are not there. I was desperate to be out there."