Fletch wants five of the best

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has urged his team-mates to save their season by winning their five remaining Premier League matches.

The Red Devils are currently reeling after the away goals ruling saw them knocked out of the UEFA Champions League against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night after a 4-4 aggregate draw.

It has been a week to forget for Sir Alex Ferguson's men, who lost the initiative at the top of the Premier League last Saturday after Chelsea snatched a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.

The Blues now lead the way at the summit by two points with five games remaining, and Scotland international Fletcher believes now is the time that the United players must show their mettle.

"It's really disappointing and the lads will be gutted for a long time - but somehow we've got to rise now and show character," he said.

"We've got five games to go and are still fighting for the league.

"The good thing is there's always another game and, although we're disappointed about this, we must put that aside and concentrate on the league.

"We must show character between now and the end of the season.

"Yes, it was a big couple of weeks for us. We've lost to Chelsea and been knocked out of the Champions League - but we still have the league to fight for.

"We've got to show the performance level we produced in the first half against Bayern in the five remaining games. There's no Champions League or midweek matches now - so we have just five league contests to concentrate on."

Former Chelsea midfielder Arjen Robben ended United's European dreams with a spectacular and decisive second away goal at Old Trafford.

The strike saw the Germans fight back from 3-0 down on the night to trail 3-2, but Fletcher believes it was United's first-leg no-show in Munich - a 2-1 defeat - which proved the difference.

"We didn't reach the levels we expected out in Germany last week," he admitted.

"You can look to different things - the early goal in Munich, maybe we didn't have to earn it and felt we had something there to hold on to.

"Yet here at Old Trafford there was some great attacking play in the first half and we should have finished the game off.

"After playing so well in the first half, it was disappointing to concede the two goals that knocked us out.

"Their goal just before half-time gave them something to fight for.

"It was a scrappy goal but, over the two legs, we have conceded disappointing goals. I don't think we gave Bayern too many chances but you only need half chances and they have got the ball in the back of the net."

Source: Sky Sports
Date Published: 4 April 2010