Fletcher: We need to help Rooney out
Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher thinks his team-mates need to accept more responsibility this season to ease the burden on Wayne Rooney.
Rooney is United’s talisman and is frequently relied upon to score the goals that can often mean the difference between victory and dropped points.
Fletcher accepts Rooney will not always be able to find the back of the net and that is where the Scotland international thinks he and his team-mates can step in.
The 26-year-old midfielder believes the likes of Nani and Antonio Valencia will only improve with age while Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes will continue to give their all to the cause.
"There was a lot of pressure on Wayne to score all the goals last season and he took that burden on," the Scotland captain said.
"But sometimes that does not happen. All strikers go through phases when they do not score goals and that is when it is important that everyone else steps up and does their bit.
"As a team we have to improve every season. I think we saw that Nani and Valencia improved last year, and they are young, so they will continue to get better.
"But even [Paul] Scholes and [Ryan] Giggs are trying to improve, and so am I, and so are the rest of the team. We are hungry and we all want to improve."
United missed out on Premier League glory to Chelsea last season and Fletcher believes the past 12 months has been somewhat of a transition period for some players.
The Red Devils lost the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, departures that allowed some of the club’s younger players to step in and fill the void.
However, it was not all doom and gloom for United and Fletcher was pleased the club scooped the Carling Cup final while also narrowly losing out to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.
"Maybe last season we went through a period of transition, though you do not realise it at the time," he said. "We lost some world-class players and other players came in.
"But we still managed to win the Carling Cup and stay in the league right until the end, while we were very unfortunate in the Champions League.
"We will learn from the things that went wrong in those games and go one step further next year."