10 own goals this season

DARREN Fletcher has a simple explanation for the number of own goals Manchester United have benefited from this season.

When James Collins turned a Ryan Giggs cross-shot into his own net at Aston Villa on Wednesday night to secure a 1-1 draw for the champions, it took the tally to ten. That figure is second in the goal-scoring charts, more than Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen and nearly halfway towards Wayne Rooney's tally of 23. But, according to Fletcher, anyone putting that huge number down to bad luck on the opposition's part would be missing the point.

"The own goals come from putting teams under pressure," said the Scotland skipper. "If you put the ball into the right areas, it is difficult to defend. When you look at all these own goals there is always a United player coming in behind them who could easily tap the ball into the net.

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"If we can put the ball between the goalkeeper and the defence and one of your players can get on it, great. But it certainly causes problems for defenders and they have been knocking them into their own net."