Fletcher warns United team-mates

After claiming an away draw against strongest group rivals Benfica

in their opening match a fortnight ago, United already looked

well-placed to claim their customary last-16 berth. Romanian

debutants Otelul Galati have to be faced in back-to-back meetings

next month, so if Basle are dismissed with customary efficiency at

Old Trafford on Tuesday, it is hard to imagine Sir Alex Ferguson’s

men being stopped. But Fletcher is acutely aware life is never

quite so easy. It is only two seasons ago that United lost to

Besiktas on home soil. And the Scotland skipper is determined to

avoid a similar setback. “You’ve got to be cautious about unknown

quantities,” said the 27-year-old. “Obviously we went to Benfica

and got a draw, but the two we face in our next two games are a

little bit unknown. Some people expect you to just walk over teams

like that and win comfortably. “It’s never as easy as that though.

“We are playing in the Champions League and we from past experience

how difficult it is. “We must have the right attitude and make sure

we perform because if we get the three points it would set us up

nicely.” Given their form so far this term, United can approach

their task with confidence. Including the Community Shield win over

Manchester City, the Red Devils headed into the weekend boasting

seven wins from eight fixtures, with only Benfica denying them at

the Stadium of Light earlier this month. United have scored three

goals on six occasions, accounting for London giants Tottenham,

Arsenal and Chelsea in the process. Yet Fletcher agrees with his

manager’s assessment that the season has not been up and running

long enough to gain any true picture of how the entire campaign is

going to unfold. “You can see where the manager is coming from,” he

said. “It is still early days. “We keep looking back to Chelsea’s

fantastic start last season. Everyone thought they were going to

walk the league, but they didn’t.” Instead, it is how United come

through the inevitable setback that Fletcher believes will

determine their progress. “You must come through it quickly and

respond,” he said. “We are playing well just now but there are

improvements to be made. Chelsea created a lot of chances against

us last week. Although we won the match, maybe we were a little bit

fortunate. “Whilst we are playing well and winning, you always have

to look at your performances and what you can do to improve in the

future because ultimately, giving away that number of opportunities

will cost us.”