Last-day woe drives Smalling

Chris Smalling has admitted Manchester United's charge towards the Premier League title has been motivated by last season's final day heartbreak.

Last Updated: 30/03/13 at 12:02 Post Comment

Chris Smalling: Manchester United defender ready to face Sunderland

Chris Smalling: Manchester United defender ready to face Sunderland

Central defender Smalling will turn his attention back to club duties after impressing in England's World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and then Tuesday night's 1-1 draw in Montenegro.

United take on Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light on Saturday - the scene of despair last May after Manchester City scored two late goals against QPR to snatch the title on goal difference.

And Smalling said: "The way we lost title at Sunderland has been a motivating force all of this season.

"Even when we've been a goal behind, there have been a lot of comebacks to get things from games.

"I think people have been looking back at last season and you don't want to experience that feeling again. I think it has shown throughout the whole season so far.

"It was one of those situations, going into the Sunderland game, where we didn't think we had a chance.

"But to get so close in the end to winning the title, makes it even worse.

"I wasn't involved that day because I got injured in the previous game against Swansea so, if anything, it was a double blow."

Smalling is hoping to make an impact with United, who play two matches in three days with an FA Cup replay at Chelsea on Monday following on from the Sunderland clash.

He said: "We've got Saturday-Monday, and there are a lot of games coming up.

"Now that I'm back playing (after injury), I hope to make an impact and keep the season going.

"They are two big games, one in the league and one in the cup, and could go a long way to deciding those competitions."

Good experience

Smalling impressed against Montenegro danger duo Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic but admits England were disappointed not to secure a win after leading at half-time through Wayne Rooney's goal.

He said: "It was good to play two games, especially this one against Montenegro which was an important one.

"It was good experience against two top players in an atmosphere that can be daunting but it was one I really relished.

"But the dressing room was pretty flat afterwards. Everyone came in and it was more like a loss than anything after we played so well in the first half.

"We really dominated and if we had got the second goal, it probably would have been a different game."

Smalling added: "I'm not too sure why the game changed so much. In the first half we passed it really well, we pressed them high, maybe we dropped off a little bit.

"But a lot of us are not sure why that really happened because after dominating for 45 minutes, we really should have kept it going."

Questions have now been asked about England's capacity to qualify, but former Fulham man Smalling sees grounds for optimism.

He believes the fact England have three of their final four games at home could be a crucial factor.

He said: "The manager (Roy Hodgson) emphasised that three of the last four games are at home and at Wembley we feel very strong.

"Do we probably need 10 points? I think so. That's the points (total) we were talking about.

"But, with the three games at home, we are very confident and, even though the second half was disappointing, we can take a lot from that first half."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

B

enteke is an absolute steal for £32.5m, he would get into any team in the world (except Barcelona) at the moment. I've seen many very good strikers in my 30+ years as a Villa fan. This guy is the best without question.

sparkigol
Benteke's £32.5m release clause

A

ll he wants are sharks with frickin lazers on their heads. Is that too much to ask?

mufc phil
Bomb threat on FIFA D-day

W

hy is the dinosaur trying to hold on to this.... Just leave... No one wants you in this position you corrupt loser. Let someone else take over....

arsenal121
Defiant Sepp blames minority

Footer 365

Angry FIFA president Sepp Blatter hits out at 'hate campaign'

Newly-elected FIFA president Sepp Blatter has launched an attack on the US justice authorities and English media.

Sepp Blatter: I'm still the man to solve FIFA's problems

Sepp Blatter has insisted he is "still the man" to lead FIFA after winning a fifth presidential term.

Rio Ferdinand announces his retirement from football

Rio Ferdinand has announced his retirement from professional football.

Mail Box

Players Must Stand Up For Qatar Boycott

Players, not bureaucrats, hold the key to boycotting Qatar. Also in the afternoon mailbox: Wenger is right to rotate, Zlatan can dribble, and it's Barca v Ajax in the budget final...

What Would You Do If You Were Blatter?

Step into Sepp's shoes, is the invitation from one mailboxer. Also: United already have their new number one, Rodgers deserves time, and the best Budget XI so far...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company