Finishing second is the 'bare minimum' for Man United, says Smalling

Finishing second is the 'bare minimum' for Man United, says Smalling

In a rousing 2-1 win, Manchester United managed to keep their second place position in the Premier League.

Not only did the Belgian score, but he also assisted on Jesse Lingard's goal.

"I think obviously we've been second for quite a while and that needs to be our bare minimum", the United defender said.

"I just need to keep working hard. I've been doing it for 10 years straight so I think I've proved myself", he told reporters.

Still, it's a bit more fun than some of the other suggestions. I don't listen to (the criticism).

Manchester United are unlikely to catch up with City in the Premier League table but they can be proud of their two points lead over Liverpool and six points lead over Chelsea.

It's probably more the consistency rather than the peak quality that is the big problem with this edition of Chelsea, and we saw some of that on display on Sunday as well. He had the same start as the team. Because there is a fortnight gap between the first and second legs, the games lose momentum.

"But then he went with the team and he finished the game with the image of the team which gave everything to win an important match for us".

Lukaku, for his long drawn career spanning over 357 games and scoring 167 goals, is yet to bag a trophy in senior football.

A boyhood Chelsea fan Romelu Lukaku had a hand in the Blues’ successful 2011/12 FA Cup campaign
A boyhood Chelsea fan Romelu Lukaku had a hand in the Blues’ successful 2011/12 FA Cup campaign

However, the 24-year-old, who has scored 22 goals in all competitions in 2017-18, feels his consistency in the top flight is often overlooked.

While Lukaku might have his detractors among EPL pundits, former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness is not one of them.

When asked if he believes people forget how young he is, the 24-year-old said: "Yeah, because I've been in the game for so long". I think he's a handful. "As you can see, I'm in a good situation". That will come, I think.

"He does a great job".

Willian picked up the ball just outside his own area and drove through the United midfield before exchanging passes with Eden Hazard. A lot of them are crumbs he's feeding on. He has scored at least 20 goals in each of his last four seasons in England, with 16 and 17 his tallies in the two seasons before that.

And Smalling is confident United can win both after proving against Chelsea they can perform when it matters. "I always want to improve and get better and it's a nice challenge", he signed off. "It's not going to be easy but it's a nice challenge".

The Belgian relishes the pressure that comes with "playing for the biggest club in the world" and does not regret spurning the chance to return to Chelsea a year ago.

Three points against his old club, against the manager who had won the title following his dismissal at Stamford Bridge, at a time when the growing assumption is that his tactical capabilities are diminishing - here was telling affirmation of his nous.

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