United must win semi-final for supporters, says Fletcher

MANCHESTER United midfielder Darren Fletcher feels tonight’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Sunderland presents the perfect opportunity for his team-mates to repay the unwavering support being shown at Old Trafford despite the club’s recent slump.

United have lost four of their last six home matches, including Sunday’s FA Cup third round tie with Swansea, and are 11 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal.

However, they travel to the Stadium of Light with key quintet David de Gea, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney available again after missing Sunday’s defeat and Fletcher believes United owe their supporters a positive result.

“They’re really sticking by us and that’s great to see – we’ve got to repay that,” he said. “The players have got to know that the fans are behind us and put performances in for them, the manager and the staff.

“It’s got to happen sooner or later and there’s no better occasion than the semi-final.”

Sunderland, meanwhile, look set to partner former United centre-backs Wes Brown and John O’Shea in defence. O’Shea has missed the Premier League’s bottom club’s last four matches with a shoulder injury.

Manager Gus Poyet said: “At the moment if they are fit they have more chance to play than the rest.”