Sunday 18 February 2018

Chris Smalling: We must win every game to make Champions League

Chris Smalling knows United must put together a strong run to make the top four
Chris Smalling knows United must put together a strong run to make the top four

Reigning champions remain marooned in seventh place, seven points off fourth-placed Liverpool, following Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Stoke City.

Chris Smalling admits "time is running out" on Manchester United’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League after claiming David Moyes’s team must win all 14 remaining league games to secure a top-four finish.

United have now lost a third of their 24 Premier League fixtures this season, with Saturday’s defeat at Stoke their eighth of the campaign.

And with Liverpool seven points clear of United in fourth position - Brendan Rodgers’ team also have a vastly superior goal difference - Smalling concedes that the faltering champions must now win every game in order to reach the top four.

“We need to stick together and really get into the next game because time is running out to pick up these points,” Smalling said. “We’ve got to go into it as if we need to win every game.

“We are the ones who have to catch them [Liverpool] so we’ve got to win the points and put the pressure on them, but we’ve not done ourselves any favours with losses like this (at Stoke).

“Each point we drop makes it difficult for ourselves. Other teams will drop points as well, but we need to stop dropping points and put pressure on other teams.

“Obviously we're not in the Champions League positions at the moment and that is a worry.

“We don't really talk about it [Champions League] but I think we all know that's the minimum we need to aim for.”

Meanwhile, United defender Phil Jones could be fit for Sunday’s Old Trafford encounter with Fulham after suffering only mild concussion at Stoke.

Jones was substituted after losing consciousness following a clash of heads with Jon Walters.

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