Darren Fletcher reckons boss David Moyes could be making a mistake if he rips his Manchester United side apart.
Old Trafford boss Moyes has hinted at wholesale changes in the summer after enduring a hellish opening six months in charge of last season’s champions.
Anderson has gone out on loan, Nemanja Vidic has confirmed he is leaving the sinking ship in June, with his partner in central defence Rio Ferdinand, Nani and Shinji Kawaga just some of the stars set to be jettisoned by the United boss.
But Fletcher points to United’s painful couple of years when they failed to win the title in 2005 and 2006 as evidence of what can be achieved if a squad sticks together.
United finished third in 2005, 18 points behind title winners Chelsea and were second in 2006 when they were eight points behind the Blues, who were crowned champions again.
That was also the season when Sir Alex Ferguson’s side failed to negotiate the group stages of the Champions League, coming bottom of a quartet that contained European lightweights Benfica and Lille.
But the same group of players then produced a dramatic change in fortunes.
The following year they took the title and, 12 months later, were crowned champions of Europe after beating Chelsea in Moscow.
Fletcher said: “It can be a quick turnaround.
“Back then, the manager saw the potential that was there, believed it could happen and stuck with us.
“He believed in us and the more games we got, the more experience we got.
“It soon took us through to winning leagues and doing really well in the Champions League.
We got to the semi-finals in 2007, then won it the following year and were in the final again in 2009 and 2011.
“That was after not making it out of the group stages one year. It just shows that people can write teams off too early.
“We’ve been in a position before where we’ve not won the league and been written off.
“As soon as it doesn’t happen for one or two seasons, words like ‘crisis’ and ‘disaster’ start being put around and people are saying that all the players need to go.
“But that is just people’s mentalities.” Fletcher reckons Moyes’ predecessor Fergie saw the rewards of backing his players in times of trouble.
“You’ve got to believe that you can come good and Sir Alex Ferguson trusted the players at that time,” he added.
“He saw them in training every day, saw the qualities they had, saw their performances in games and just had to get that from them on a consistent basis.
“You can look to times like that and realise just because you’re going through a bad spell, it doesn’t make you bad players.
“We’ve got to get a little bit of confidence back in our game, a little self-belief and that’s about experienced players who have been there and done it coming together with the younger ones.
“Then, all of a sudden, you come back as a team and show what you are about."