Darren Fletcher: We must cut out late goals
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher believes the club's hopes of regaining the Premier League crown from Chelsea will be in tatters if they continue to concede late goals.
Everton scored twice in injury time on Saturday to snatch a 3-3 draw against United at Goodison Park. And that came just a few weeks after Fulham scored late to claim a 2-2 draw against Sir Alex Ferguson's men at Craven Cottage.
Fletcher, who scored against Everton, admits that dropping such points could prove to be the difference between success and failure.
"We should have learned from the Fulham game and we didn't,'' said Fletcher. "We really have to learn from this game if we want to take it forward this season and win the league. We can't afford to throw away points as we have done in the two away games so far.
"It just shows you that you think you are winning 3-1 and can take it easy but you've got to keep taking your chances and really finish the game off. These are moments you can look back on and say 'That should have been three points' but it is a long season and there are many twists and turns to come.
"It just shows you that you have to play right to the final whistle in this league because teams don't give up, especially when they are at home. The more confidence you give to teams, showing them things like that, the more confidence they will get to say 'Keep on right till the end against Manchester United'.
"We need to put that to bed and get away from it as soon as possible. There is no vulnerability, it is just simple mistakes which we need to eradicate it quickly. The game was fizzling out but once you give a team like Everton a bit of hope with the second goal - which came out of nothing - it lifted the whole place.
"They found that extra bit of energy and threw men into the box in the last minute. You can't afford to give teams at their home ground any sort of momentum or confidence, a half-chance or a goal, because in the end you suffer for it. The manager was really disappointed and made it clear in no uncertain terms of what is expected at this club.''