Fergie - Fletcher is key

Sir Alex Ferguson has suggested Darren Fletcher will be a key figure when Manchester United meet Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final.

Fletcher missed the 2009 showdown between the two sides through suspension, but is being lined up to start at Wembley on 28th May.

The midfielder returned from two months out with a virus by appearing as a substitute in Wednesday's 4-1 thrashing of Schalke in the semi-final second leg at Old Trafford.

He could enjoy another cameo appearance against Premier League title rivals Chelsea at the weekend and Ferguson is relishing the chance to pick Fletcher in the big games again.

"It wouldn't have been fair to pitch Darren in from the start because he really does need games," said Ferguson.

"But he is catching up all the time and we may get him on the bench against Chelsea on Sunday with a view to getting more game time.

"Some players are big-game players and he is one.

Source: Sky Sports
Date Published: 5 May 2011

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Fergie knows best yet again. A professional performance and we're off to Wembley. 3 finals in 4 years. Never saw that coming in 2004 or 05. Terrific achievement.

- twoc2002

God I hope he takes Scholesy off... Happy days though! Gibson in "decent half" shocker...maybe he needed that kick in the ribs eh?!

- Jonesy

Nervous...nervous...nervous. Rather he played the strongest team

- Cookster68

No problem with the attack, but a rookie defence and no Carrick or Fletch for protection leaves me a bit worried. Got to hope Ando and Scholes can control the game. Please please please can we score the first goal and settle the nerves!

- twoc2002

I had a feeling he would make big changes. I am very worried about how Evans and Smalling will cope.

- Shaun

Based on the way the first leg went we should comfortably make the final but that's what makes me worry a little bit. Schalke can't play as bad as they did and will really go for it at Old Trafford, if they can get an early goal then it really is game on and if they see our lineup is a lot weaker then that will surely give them belief. I'd hope that we'd put out a lineup something like: Van der Sar Rafael - Vidic - Ferdinand - Evra Valencia - Scholes - Fletcher (if he's fit) - Nani Owen - Berbatov I wouldn't have said that any of the back five would need a break and keeping that consistent could be crucial to the title run in. This would give Giggs, Carrick, Park, Anderson, Rooney and Hernandez all a rest and would hopefully all come straight back into the side to face Chelsea on Sunday. The way that everyone is already talking about Barcelona and United in the final though is a little worrying as comments like that can come back to haunt you. I'm sure Fergie and the players will be aware that the job still needs to be finished off at Old Trafford tonight though and hopefully we can get an early goal and put the tie to bed and afford to bring a few players off and rest them for the Chelsea game.

- Dave

Well, the manager has said Fabio won't play. I think he will rest one of Ferdinand / Vidic, I hope he doesn't but he might considering how well Smalling has done so far this season.

- Shaun

I don't see him messing about with the back 5 at all. Reckon will be strong defence, a defensive midfield inc Scholes to help keep it tight at the back and keep the ball, thenm Berba and Owen.

- Oli

It is a big game, it is a European semi-final after all. But if Ferguson fields a team like the one I suggested I think we'll still beat them.

- Shaun

Call me a nervous nelly but nothing is more un-secure, IMHO, than a 2 goal lead. Some are actually talking like all we need to do is show up! I'll admit that we are in a great position, but I'll not be satisfied until the job is done! We need to score early and take all hope out of Schalke. If they score first, it could be game on. We looked dead tired against the Arse. The fixtures are catching up with the team. HOPEFULLY, we'll see this out double quick and then roll on Sunday!

- Darren