Football

Manchester United midfielder targets early Champions League qualification

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Darren Fletcher says Manchester United are determined to wrap up qualification for the Champions League knockout stages with a win in Braga next month, reports manutd.com.

Last night's 3-2 comeback victory over their Portuguese opponents at Old Trafford, maintained the Red Devils' perfect record of three wins from three games, cementing their place at the top of Group H.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side are now in pole position to secure their place in the last-16 - an achievement that will quickly banish last season's memories of a shock early-exit from Europe.

"After last year the aim was to get ourselves through the group as quickly as possible," Fletcher told MUTV. "One more victory should see us through and hopefully we can do it in the next game in Braga with two games to spare.

"If you take away the first 20 minutes when we went 2-0 down it was a good performance," he added, in reference to Tuesday night's encounter.

"People will talk about slow starts and giving away early goals but the fact we came back to win showed great character. Nevertheless, we know we can't keep doing it [giving away early goals]."

The Braga match represented a great opportunity for Fletcher to get another 90 minutes under his belt, as the Scotland international continues his rehabilitation from a lengthy spell out of the game, following a battle with ulcerative colitis last term.

It was the 28-year-old's third full match for Manchester United this season, and it was clear how delighted he is to be back in the first-team.

"I feel fine. It was good to get another 90 minutes under my belt and the more of them I get the better I'll feel.

"I'm fully aware there is huge competition for places in midfield. I've just got to get as many minutes under my belt as I can and keep taking my opportunities when they come.

"There is great competition for places all over the pitch and the more of us that can stay fit the better it will be [for the team in the long run]."

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Topics:
Football
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Darren Fletcher

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