Manchester United’s vice-captain Darren Fletcher says the message under Louis van Gaal is ’start the season to win’ as they prepare for their Premier League curtain raiser against Swansea City on Saturday.
Fletcher, who joined the Red Devils as a youth aged 11 in 1995, confidently predicts that with the current side United possess they can well surpass the top four target touted by the pundits.
The Red Devils finished seventh last season under the stewardship of David Moyes, 22 points behind champions and arch-rivals Manchester City as United missed out on European action for the first time since 1990.
“Wayne (Rooney), Robin (van Persie), Danny (Welbeck), Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) are all still here as well the arrival of Juan Mata. So we have a lot of great attacking players who won the league only two years ago,” Fletcher told TalkSPORT.
“The squad is good enough. Getting into the mindset of just settling for top four is dangerous.”
The 30-year old recovered from a serious bowel condition to return to the side last season and states that even if they don’t add to the signings of Herrera and Shaw, there is no reason to doubt a Red Devil title challenge.
“The manager is always looking to improve the squad so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a couple more new faces by the beginning, but if not I still think we can win the league.”
When asked about where United rank alongside the strengthened Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal, Fletcher believed that the ill-fated campaign under Moyes did not reflect the true ability of the squad and they can challenge them.
“Last season was a disaster. I think we massively underperformed as a team as well as individually. We did not do ourselves justice.
“It was definitely not a true reflection of our abilities that’s for sure.”
After ending a dazzling pre-season with a perfect record, there has been widespread praise from the likes of Nicky Butt for the impact of new manager Van Gaal.
Fletcher, as a stalwart of the Sir Alex Ferguson reign which brought in 38 trophies in 26 years, can see the similarities in the disciplined and strong leadership style of Dutchman to that of the legendary Scot.
“It’s like we have the Dutch Alex Ferguson,” he said to the Sports Bar show.
“They’re both cut from the same cloth. They both command huge respect and demand a lot from their players.
“You, whoever you are at the club, are under no illusions what are expected of you on and off the pitch.”
The Scotland skipper also spoke of the privilege to be appointed as a vice-captain and commends the Dutchman’s decision to appoint another longstanding player in Rooney as captain.
“He [Van Gaal] wanted it to be both British players who understood the culture of the club.
“I’ve been captaining Scotland for a few years now and had a bit of experience, but the more senior head and good leaders we have the better it’ll be for the club.”
United will look to the hit the ground running after being handed a generous set of opening games against Swansea, Sunderland, Burnley, Leicester and West Ham.
Main image courtesy of bwin via YouTube, with thanks.