| 14.7°C Dublin

Fletcher: We'll put heat on City

DARREN Fletcher is certain Manchester United are capable of exerting pressure on Premier League title rivals Manchester City.

Both clubs head into the weekend on the back of disappointing results in Europe.

However, whilst United still have their destiny in their own hands, even if a scrap for second spot with FC Basle was not what they had in mind for the final day when the Champions League group stage began, City are staring at an early exit following their defeat in Naples.

With a trip to Liverpool looming on Sunday, United can sense a previously undetected vulnerability in the Blues.

But Fletcher recognises only more victories, starting against Newcastle at Old Trafford tomorrow, will start to make their neighbours sweat.

"The only results we can control are our own," said Fletcher.


"But we know if we play to the level we are capable of then we can win matches and put Manchester City under pressure.

"We need to respond as quickly as possible by trying to get a win against Newcastle."

They will do some with a more cautious approach than the one they adopted at the start of the season. After all, the thrill-a-minute escapes that brought handsome dividends against Tottenham, Chelsea and, particularly, Arsenal, were also the tactics that proved their undoing against City and Basle at Old Trafford.

United tossed away a two-goal lead against the Swiss team -- with a last-gasp equaliser from Ashley Young preventing their own European picture looking as bleak as their Manchester rivals.

"We knew we were a little bit too open," said Fletcher.

"We were conceding a lot of chances and that ultimately came to a head against Manchester City.

"Recently we have gone on a run where we have not conceded a goal in five matches.

"People were criticising the performance levels but it was the natural reaction to losing six goals.

"We are not going to play well all the time. But we have great quality in this squad.

"The manager believes in the players and we believe in ourselves."

That Wayne Rooney has played so often in central midfield is possibly one of the reasons why United's goalscoring has dried up, although before he can be considered for any position the striker must recover from the hip injury he suffered at Swansea last Saturday.