Chris Smalling says Manchester United’s last-gasp win over Bournemouth has given the side confidence ahead of their Champions League trip to Juventus.
Marcus Rashford scored deep into stoppage-time to secure victory for Jose Mourinho’s side after Anthony Martial had cancelled out Callum Wilson’s early opener.
The result means United have won both Premier League matches since their defeat home Juventus last month with the two sides reconvening in Turin on Wednesday.
With a game against rivals Manchester City coming up in the Premier league next weekend, a crucial few days lie ahead for Mourinho’s side.
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When asked what two positive results could do for United’s season, Smalling said: “I think that it would galvanise us. We know we’re going into a very tough week now but we can come out with some good results and it can be seen as a good month.
“It is an especially tough month now and potentially after the international break when we have a lot of home games it’s all about making sure we get results and move up that table despite the tough games.
“We can take the second half to Turin and I think we will be more on the front foot and you will see a better performance in the first half. We need to take the second-half performance that we had against them at home and we need to do that from the off and we’ll give them a good game and get chances.”
Mourinho’s success throughout his career has been built on a solid defence so it is unusual so see a side managed by the Portuguese concede so many goals. The Red Devils have already conceded 18 times in the Premier League this season, the worst record in the top half.
Smalling admits it’s something the side need to work on if they are to be successful this season.
“In the last few years I think we have been known for shutting up shop and not conceding many goals so this season has been very unusual to what I have experienced,” Smalling added.
“We need to work on that because normally we don’t concede many and we win the game. It starts at the back, and as a team collectively, and we will be working on it every day.
“Yes, we’re showing that attitude, never giving in. No matter how bad the first half was, the second half we all believed we could go and win. It’s a great feeling and it’s bringing us closer together. As games are getting tougher and tougher – I think they’re closer than ever – it is often coming down to fine margins. Who can give that added burst in the last five minutes? We’re going to win a lot of points that way, and a lot of other teams are going to gain or lose points that way.”
Despite United’s recent improvement Smalling acknowledges that poor results earlier in the campaign means the club face a real battle to try and finish in the top four. Mourinho’s side are currently seventh in the table, four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and nine points behind leaders Manchester City.
“We as players have to stand tall and the spotlight will be on us because we are supposed to be in the top four. We are doing everything we can to get there,” he said.
“To be at a club like this, and last as long as I have, you need to have that courage and belief in your ability, because you’re not going to have good days every week and the bad days are often highlighted when you’re at a big club, but I believe in myself. As players you need to have thick skin and we need to have belief that you will have bad days but it’s about making sure you have more good days than bad.”
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