Scottish midfielder Darren Fletcher cannot disguise the disappointment he experienced with Manchester United last season. Failing to win a fourth successive Premiership title by the narrowest of margins was a bitter pill for him to swallow so he cannot wait for the new campaign to kick off because he fully expects matters to be put right come next May.
And it all starts with the pre season preparations on Monday morning when he boards a plane to America. Most players were at Carrington during the week being tested after a two month spell during the summer. With Scotland failing to qualify for South Africa Fletcher enjoyed his break from football but is now looking forward to the trip to North America.
“It’s should be a great tour” Fletcher told MUTV in an interview just a few days before departure “We’ve not been there in a while. And although three weeks is going to be a long time to be away, there’ll be some good games. Personally, playing against Celtic in Toronto will be interesting as I’ll be up against a few of my Scottish team mates. But I’m looking forward to it all really.”
Being part of the club’s pre season preparations, the 26 year old knows full well that the trip will be far from a holiday but hopes that he will also have a chance to see some of the sights. “There won’t be thousands of fans outside the hotel so maybe the lads will be able to get into the cities and wander about and take in a few sights” Fletcher said “pre season is important business in terms of getting fit, but there will be some time for relaxation which the lads will enjoy.”
The midfield dynamo insists that the team will use last season’s shortcomings as motivation this term. Last campaign ended in disappointment after Ferguson’s side missed out on a fourth consecutive Premier League title by a single point to Chelsea and were dumped out of the Champions League in the quarter finals.
Fletcher says reflecting on United’s failings over the summer has provided him with the hunger to meet the new season head on. “It runs through your head all summer, the disappointments of last year” Fletcher explained “losing out in the Premier League and the Champions League, you think about what you could have done better, moments that maybe cost you, different things like that. It can be a long summer. Sometimes you have to try and switch off and I managed to do that, but there are other times when you think things through in your head and you’ve got to be always thinking about how you can improve yourself as well when you come back”
“The disappointments of last year will drive us on this year” he continued “disappointment brings out a little more hunger in you. It’s a long summer when you’ve not achieved what you want to achieve. We achieved a little bit of what we wanted last season and hopefully the hunger the lads will have, plus not wanting to experience that again, will help us.”
Defender Wes Brown is also confident that United can turn the tables next season “Like we say every year, the Premier League and the Champions League are the ones we really want to win so we’ve got to come back better and stronger” he said “We were close last season but it was never really in our hands. We’ve got to make sure it is this season”
“You do think about your disappointments, especially when the season’s finished but now it’s completely new and we’ve got to put that behind us. We’ve got some new players and we can start again.”
If that is the sort of determined attitude fans can look forward to in the new season, there can be little doubt that a 19th title may well be on its way to Old Trafford in what will be an appropriate swansong for legends like Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, maybe Edwin Van der Sar and possibly, Sir Alex himself.
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