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Chris Smalling at a photoshoot in the United home kit.

Smalling: City's results only count if we win

Chris Smalling is intrigued to see by how Manchester City will react to their first defeat of the Premier League season, suffered at Liverpool last weekend, although the in-form defender has stated the Blues’ set-back has not influenced United’s mentality or approach this week.

The Reds closed the gap on Pep Guardiola’s leaders to 12 points when recording an impressive 3-0 victory at a wintry Old Trafford on Monday night. Jose Mourinho’s men are now preparing for Saturday’s trip to seventh-placed Burnley at Turf Moor and a game that should provide a test.

City, meanwhile, will host Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium and many supporters are keen to observe how they bounce back from the unexpectedly one-sided defeat at Anfield last time out. 

“The fact they got a couple of late goals gave them a boost, but it is how they react now because they have been pretty much unstoppable all season,”
Smalling told ManUtd.com’s Adam Marshall at the Aon Training Complex on Friday.
“So now it is the time for them to react and see how they do. 

“But their results only count if we keep winning our games and making sure we go on a winning run, because that is the only way we can move up that table. As soon as you take your eyes off yourselves then that is when you slip up. If we can finish the season on another big run then we will be happy, because that will link in with the cup competitions that we are in as well.”

Burnley v United
Chris Smalling says

“We know their dangers, we know that we need to do better than we did at home and we know exactly what we are up against.”

Saturday’s match at Burnley is expected to be challenging, given that the Clarets recently raced to a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford on Boxing Day before Jesse Lingard’s brace clawed back a draw for United. 

“That is going to be very clear in our memories because it wasn't very long ago,” Smalling told us. “We know their dangers, we know that we need to do better than we did at home and the fact that it was only a couple of weeks ago means we know exactly what we are up against.”

Goals: United 2 Burnley 2Video

MY THOUGHTS ON VAR

Later in the interview, which will air on MUTV from 13:15 GMT on Saturday, Smalling gave his thoughts on the VAR system that has been introduced in the Emirates FA Cup this season. 

“The idea is good because there are a lot of controversial decisions that can often be decided with a replay,”
Chris said.
“There are going to be those teething problems to start with. I just think they need to speed up the process in terms of making a decision more instant, but that takes time and will come with games. But ultimately I think it is a good thing and is something that the game needs.

“It has been around in other sports, like cricket and tennis. You don't want to lose that intensity in games, because instant reactions and cheers are what make football so great. But the more we use it, the better people will get used to the system and ultimately it will speed up the more we use it.”
 

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