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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona 49 minutes ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 15, 2006

Fletcher accepts criticism as part of football

Darren Fletcher has shrugged off the critics who condemned him last term, insisting taking flak is all part of being a Manchester United player.

The Scotland international bore the brunt of fans' anger last term when results started to go against the Old Trafford.

Forgetting the youngster's tender years, supporters targeted Fletcher rather than looking for failing in others whose reputation promised more than it actually delivered.

Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to defend the Edinburgh-born midfielder on more than one occasion, even if he also admitted Fletcher suffered a mid-season blip which coincided with United's miserable early elimination from the Champions League.

Just as Ferguson suggested though, Fletcher appears to have matured over the summer and while the 22-year-old cannot be yet regarded as an integral part of United's first-choice line-up, his four appearances so far this term have all been effective, including Wednesday night's effort against Celtic.

'Taking criticism is part and parcel of football,' he said. 'What you have to try to do is focus on your own game and improve.

'As a player, every season is important at this club. If players stand still, so does the team. And Manchester United does not stand still.

'I know there will be times when I do play, and others when I don't.

'All I can do is try my best and hope to impress the manager.'