The Reds defender played the full 90 minutes of Sunday’s 4-1 defeat in the Manchester derby, a gruelling fixture at the best of times. But while a longer pause might have been welcomed on a physical level, Smalling insists the gap to this evening’s clash with Liverpool has been mercifully short from a psychological point of view.
“I think it’s good there’s a big game coming up against Liverpool so we can try to hit back. “We normally reply with a good result,” Smalling told ManUtd.com. “Sunday’s match was a big disappointment, probably one of the biggest disappointments I have felt and I think that a lot of the players were hurt by that performance.”
United’s other league defeat this season was ironically against tonight’s opponents but on that occasion, the champions had to wait for almost a fortnight before returning to action with a victory over Crystal Palace.
“We bounced back from that [losing 0-1 at Anfield] and, although this was an even bigger disappointment, we’ve got a chance to play a couple of games quickly and that’s what we all need. We must do our talking on the pitch, not just say it won’t happen again. It’s a case of showing the fans what we’re all about.”
Look out for an exclusive interview with Chris Smalling in Saturday’s (West Bromwich Albion) edition of United Review, the Reds’ official match programme.