Smalling: ‘Only players can save us’ – not Louis?

Date published: Monday 25th January 2016 9:36

Chris Smalling says that Manchester United’s players “are the only ones who can turn this thing around”.

The 1-0 defeat to Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday means United have now won just two of their last ten Premier League games, with pressure mounting on manager Louis van Gaal.

The hosts registered just one shot on target against Southampton, who are now just four points behind United.

Smalling believes that “neither side deserved to win” at the weekend, but that United “need to learn” from yet another setback.

“The fans want to see goals and see us attack,” Smalling told Manchester United’s official website. “We couldn’t break Southampton down today, they played a very solid five and we found it very difficult but we need to learn from this.

“Teams are coming here well organised and Southampton were well organised today, as we were. We both cancelled each other out and it looked like a set-play could be the deciding factor. We were on the end of it today but there were few chances.”

Charlie Austin scored the winner in the 87th minute, with the debutant finding himself free in the penalty area from a free-kick, before heading past David de Gea.

“It was a free header,” Smalling said. “They’re big guys and everyone should be tighter, so to lose the match that way is disappointing.

“Set-pieces were their main threat and they had a couple of half-chances but [it’s disappointing] to concede that way when we should have walked off with a goalless draw, because neither side deserved to win.

“We started this year very well but this is a setback. I think it has [lost the momentum].”

“We can’t dwell on this too much. We’ve got to go again on Friday [against Derby in the FA Cup] and the midweek afterwards as well [at home to Stoke City in the league],” he added. “The players need to pick ourselves up as we’re the only ones who can turn this thing around.”

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