thumbnail Hello,

The Red Devils were dumped out of the competition in 2005 after losing to Benfica in the final game of the group stages, but the midfielder says it can only inspire them

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher insists the team will call upon their past experience of dropping out of the Champions League to rescue their current campaign in Europe.

The Red Devils were knocked out of the competition at the group stages in 2005 after being beaten 2-1 in the final game by Benfica, finishing bottom in the table with just six points – putting them out of Europe altogether that season.

Now, United face a similar problem, as they must avoid defeat to Basel on Wednesday night to advance to the knockout stages and Fletcher believes the team will draw on their experience in a do-or-die fixture in Switzerland.

He told reporters: “We’ve got experience of it not going right when it comes down to the last game.

“We’ll try to draw from that experience and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“There are a few of us still in the squad who experienced the disappointment of that night. We’ll reiterate that to the rest of the lads.

“The difference is we now know how bad that felt the last time it happened. But we’re thinking about getting a positive result, like we always do, and we’ll go there to win the game.

“I’m sure if we perform to the level we know we can then I’m sure we’ll get the result that’s needed.”

Fletcher admits their situation is far from the position they wished to be in at this moment in the competition, but insists they must address the circumstances and go to Switzerland with the confidence that they can come home with the needed win.

He added: “You want to be through by this stage and you want to be in pole position to win the group.

“Unfortunately, we’re not in that position, so you look back to the two home draws against Basel and Benfica. If you don’t win your home games in the Champions League, it’s not going to be as easy as you’d like.

“So we look to those two games as the reason why we’re not where we’d like to be but we can’t do anything about that now.

“We can only deal with what’s in front of us and challenge that obstacle. That means going to Basel and not losing, while trying to win the game.”

The Scotland international is adamant that they will not be put off their target by the raucous home fans, whose team need to win to go through.

He said: “It allows us to qualify for the next round of the Champions League, so it doesn’t get much bigger than that.

“That’s where this club needs to be so we know we have to get a positive result.

“They have to come out and try to win the game and if they do they’ll have that passionate home crowd behind them. But we’re used to that in Europe.

“We’ve built up lots of experience over the years of going into hostile atmospheres and digging deep to get results. We’ll draw on that in Basel if need be.”

How do you stay up to date with football when on the move? With – your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.