Darren Fletcher remains adamant that Manchester United can win the Barclays Premier League this season despite their five point deficit to local rivals Manchester City.

United suffered their worst defeat at Old Trafford since 1955 when City recorded a shock 6-1 victory in October and since then have been in recovery mode, stringing together a five match winning streak, including three consecutive 1-0 victories in the league before coming undone in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side must sweat on their place in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages after registering a 2-2 draw with Benfica at Old Trafford that put the Portuguese outfit in the driving seat to qualify in top spot from Group C.

Manchester City meanwhile suffered their own European setback in mid-week, with their 2-1 defeat against Napoli meaning they must rely on results elsewhere in order to qualify for the next stage, and with a tough game against Liverpool to come for Roberto Mancini’s men, Fletcher believes his side are capable of seizing upon any weaknesses shown by their rivals.

"The only results we can control are our own," said Fletcher. "But we know if we play to the level we are capable of then we can win matches and put Manchester City under pressure.

“We need to respond as quickly as possible by trying to get a win against Newcastle."

The Scottish international added that critics of the Old Trafford-based outfit's style were failing to see the full picture, and hit out at suggestions that their lack of midfield creativity will harm their chances of mounting a serious title challenge this year.

It doesn’t bother me because it has been there since we’ve all been at United,” he told M.E.N Sport.

“We have all faced it before. It is part of playing for Manchester United. You are under the spotlight and do get criticised. But we believe in our strengths. We believe in what each individual brings to the team and how we can win matches.

“I’ve been aware of what people have said about the midfield. People will always speculate about new arrivals. That goes with the territory.

"When you lose a fantastic player like Paul Scholes people think why haven’t you replaced him. But I have always said you cannot replace a player like that. He was such a great player – one of the best of all time to play for Manchester United. But all the other midfielders have their own qualities and the most important thing is those qualities integrate into a team which is a successful team." he added.

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