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Chris Smalling

Smalling: We need to build on that second half

Chris Smalling praised the attacking intensity of his Manchester United team-mates, as the Reds were ultimately held to a goalless draw in the UEFA Champions League against Valencia.

The defender, speaking to MUTV straight after the match, complimented the team's second-half performance and hopes it will give the players something to build on for this weekend's Premier League fixture against Newcastle United.

“I think the second half was better,” Smalling said. “I feel there was more intensity and I felt that we deserved a goal, especially with the second-half performance. But, I think you could tell as we walked off the pitch that we were disappointed, because we knew how much three points would have set us up in the group.

I think we grew stronger and stronger as the game went on,“ he added. ”I think we need to make sure that we follow that up on Saturday, because we will come up against a team who are going to be equally as hard to break down and we need that intensity and tempo in order to do that.

Smalling: I felt we deserved a goalVideo

The Reds had opportunities to secure the three points during the Valencia game. Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba had chances saved, while Marcus Rashford hit the crossbar from a free-kick late on. The result sees Jose Mourinho's side sit in second place in Group H, after Juventus won comfortably against Young Boys, 3-0, to go top.

“There's a lot to play for and ultimately we want to win all of our home games in our group,” Smalling said. “We look forward to the next one.”

After the international break, United will travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea, followed by the first of two tough fixtures against Italian champions Juventus. Smalling feels the team will need to tighten up at the back ahead of those games.

“Two weeks is a long time to wait for your next game and if we can pick up with that tempo and that intensity and increase it a little bit, I think we can get the results we want,” he said.

“I think we know this year that we have been conceding far too many goals. We need to get back to the last few years where we conceded very few goals and that's on us [defenders] to make sure we do that so the boys at the other end can get the goals to win the games.”

United 0 Valencia 0 article

The Reds were unable to find the fatal blow in a goalless battle at Old Trafford.