Smalling: We could have played much better

Chris Smalling has admitted that Manchester United could have played much better in the 3-1 win over Burnley.

Burnley were all over United in the first half but the Reds lead 2-1 at half time courtesy of two headers from Smalling.

Smalling replaced Phil Jones on five minutes and 22 seconds after his arrival, the England international nodded in the opener. Burnley equalized through Ings in the 12th minute and thoroughly dominated the remainder of the first half until Smalling scored again on the brink of half-time.

“It wasn’t a 3-1 scoreline game,” he told MUTV. “Especially in that first half, we all let ourselves down. We could have played much better.

“They came out of the traps, they pressed us well, but we didn’t find the solutions to that in the first half. We were very lucky to come in at half-time ahead. We knew that Burnley run hard and they run the channels. We knew their game-plan but we didn’t get to grips with it.

“It helped settle us a little bit going into the second half. That second-half was a little bit more like Manchester United. But that first half… we need to look at ourselves and make sure it never happens again.”

Despite rising up to third spot in the table, some United supporters whistled the side at Old Trafford last night and Smalling admitted that the Reds have to improve as they look to produce better performances.

“There is [more to come],” he added.

“But the manager said in the dressing room that the first half was unacceptable and all the players know that. If we can win games playing that badly, then it shows that if we do play well and it all clicks, then there will be a lot better performances at Old Trafford, that’s for sure.

“In the second half, we played a lot better and we just needed to get that third goal. We kept pressing them and we were a lot more patient on the ball than we were in the first half.”

Written by Jash Mehta [@the_manutd_blog]

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