Chris Smalling says there is a sense of relief within the Manchester United camp after they secured a place in the Champions league last 16 – and he’s now called for the focus to be on the Premier League.
Marouane Fellaini’s late strike secured a 1-0 win for United over Young Boys at Old Trafford on Tuesday and ensured they booked a spot in the knockout stages with a game to spare.
Smalling admits United’s confidence was shaken after they wasted a number of chances against the Swiss outfit and he was delighted they managed a winner in the dying stages.
“We created some good chances, not just half chances, and I think heads can dip when a few of those don’t go in,” Smalling said.
“You could see the relief in our faces knowing that we had qualified and not have to go to Valencia and really make it hard for ourselves.”
United face a real battle to qualify for next season’s edition of the top European tournament as they currently sit seventh in the Premier League table – seven points behind Chelsea in fourth. Smalling says they must now focus on their domestic commitments as they bid to close the gap on the top four.
He added: “We’ve qualified now and now it’s all about our league form.”
Manchester United are 5.50 to secure a top-four finish or 81.00 to win the league without Manchester City.
The Old Trafford club head to Southampton at the weekend as they seek to end a two-game winless run in the Premier League, having lost to City and drawn with Crystal Palace prior to their win over Young Boys.