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Fletcher: stresses importance of Benfica win

Darren Fletcher

Manchester United have set out their stall to reach the Champions League knockout stage as group winners. After opening their campaign with a couple of draws, United got themselves back on track by recording successive victories over the Romanian minnows Otelul Galati.

It means that victory over Benfica at Old Trafford on Tuesday would mean, at worst, Sir Alex Ferguson's men would require a point from their last-day encounter with Basel to reach the last 16.

However, according to the midfielder Darren Fletcher, that conclusion alone would not be satisfactory.

"You do want to finish top," he said. "First and foremost you look to qualify for the knockout stages but we saw Arsenal finish second last season and end up with Barcelona in the first knockout round.

"Although people say you have to beat these teams if you want to win the competition, it is good to avoid them until later on. It also give you little perks like having the second leg at home."

After being left out of Saturday's Premier League win at Swansea City, Fletcher is expected to face Benfica, who had the better of a draw with United at Estádio de Luz in September.

Watch Manchester United v Benfica free sport live stream here.