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Fletcher eager to prove critics wrong

Darren Fletcher has admitted it is "the perfect time" for Manchester United's critics to slate them but is convinced Louis van Gaal's side will prove them wrong this season.

- Heroes and Villains: Premier League week 1

United, who only finished seventh in the Premier League last season, made a losing start under the Dutchman as Swansea won 2-1 at Old Trafford last season.

They won 13 league titles and reached four Champions League finals in Sir Alex Ferguson's last 21 years in charge and former Liverpool, Real Madrid and England midfielder Steve McManaman described the current crop as the worst United team he had seen in two decades.

But while Fletcher accepts United's recent struggles have provided fuel for their detractors, he insists such remarks will increase their determination to show they aren't true.

"People have been waiting for an opportunity to have a go at United for years and this is the perfect time," Fletcher told reporters.

"It's a long season and I don't think they will be saying those things at the end of it.

"I believe we're going to have a very good season. All the players believe that too. Comments like that give us a greater determination, without a shadow of a doubt."

Fletcher has been appointed vice-captain by Van Gaal and the 30-year-old is a senior figure in a young group, where Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard were given United debuts against Swansea.

It brought comparisons with the start of the 1995-96 season when United were written off by some pundits after selling the experienced trio of Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis and promoting youngsters -- including Paul Scholes and David Beckham -- to replace them.

"To be honest it felt like that in the dressing room [on Saturday]," said Fletcher.

"It did have a feel of that in terms of people looking at the squad and maybe not seeing household names, but these players are good enough and the manager believes in them.

"All you need is a platform to go and perform and I'm sure they'll definitely go and prove people wrong. This whole club is about bouncing back from adversity."


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