Sports Monks

Man United aiming to make next City derby a ‘nervous’ affair – Smalling

Chris Smalling says Manchester United are aiming to get close enough to Manchester City in the title race to make the next derby 'nervous' for Pep Guardiola's team.

City maintained their 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with a 3-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday, just a few hours after United had beaten Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor. The next derby is scheduled for April 7.

And Smalling believes that if United can get to within touching distance before that game at the Etihad Stadium, they will have a chance of lifting the title.

He said: 'If we can be in with a shout at that time of the season that's when nerves can creep in so hopefully those last few games we're there or thereabouts.

'I think we have all been there where league title hopes have been dwindled and people have been caught but we can only focus on ourselves.

'There is a big points gap at the minute and we just need to male sure we win our games because if we don't there's no point even at all.'

Jose Mourinho has given his players two days off following the win over Burnley. They are expected back at Carrington on Tuesday before their FA Cup fourth round tie at League Two Yeovil on Friday night.

It will be United's second trip to Huish Park in three years after winning 2-0 in the FA Cup third round in 2015.

Smaling added: 'After being knocked out of one [cup competition] it's making sure we go strong in this one and we've got a good draw.

'We go there having played there not too long ago, so we know the stadium.'

United were made to work for their win at a wintry Turf Moor on Saturday.

Anthony Martial scored the winner in the 54th minute with one of only two shots on target Mourinho's team managed all afternoon.

It was United's fourth consecutive win in all competitions and a fifth clean sheet in a row, and midfielder Nemanja Matic believes is could be an important three points come the end of the season.

He said: 'It was a hard game but I'm used to it because this stadium is always like this.

'It's always difficult but we are very happy because we win and they are three very important points for us, especially in this stadium. As I said, it was hard.

'Every game is important. Every game is a different story so we have to try and get the three points.

'We did exactly what we set out to do and we are now focused on the next game.'

Source: www.espnfc.com

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