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"They seem to be a very technically gifted side, one that’s going to pose quite a few threats. But we’ve had some good training this week and we’re looking forward to the game."

- Chris Smalling, ManUtd.com
08/03/2012 09:00, Report by A.Marshall & A.Bostock

Smalling all set

Chris Smalling is appreciating the experience of playing in Europe and has been swotting up on Thursday's opponents Athletic Club.

The former Fulham defender took part in the Europa League during his Craven Cottage days and was unbeaten in four games in the 2009/2010 competition.

After recovering from the head injury sustained on international duty with England, the 22-year-old is hoping to be involved in the Round of 16 tie at Old Trafford.

"It was great to be able to test myself against different players and different nationalities," he told ManUtd.com. "Especially in the Champions League run last year. So far in the Europa League, we’ve played against a Dutch team and now we’re facing a Spanish side so there are definitely some good tests.

"I saw one of their [Athletic Club's] games last week when I was away with England. We’ve watched some videos at Carrington today [Tuesday] and we’ll watch some more tomorrow. They seem to be a very technically gifted side, one that’s going to pose quite a few threats. But we’ve had some good training this week and we’re looking forward to the game."

When asked if winger Susaeta could be a man to watch out for at Old Trafford, he replied: "Yes, often when you get to this high level – the latter stages of a European competition – the games can be quite even until that one moment when someone can do something different. Those moments are the ones that separate winning from losing."

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