England international Chris Smalling believes Manchester United’s team spirit will see them push on after moving into the Champions League qualification places with victory over Arsenal.
Smalling marshalled an inexperienced backline including rookies, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett as Louis van Gaal’s side recorded their first away victory of the season.
Victory saw an injury hit United leapfrog Arsenal and the defender believes that United will go from strength to strength when they have the luxury of a fully fit squad.
“We’ll stick together – all the players are in it as a group – and when we do get a settled side I think you’ll start to see the consistency we’re all striving for,” the 25-year-old told ManUtd.com.
“I think if you look at the teams towards the top of the table they have benefitted from playing a settled side, maybe making just one or two changes each week. We don’t have that luxury at the moment.
“It’s been our story this season that we have to change the team and the formation quite a lot. It’s not ideal but we’ve had to make do.”
United were forced into another early change when £30million summer signing Luke Shaw was forced to come off after 15 minutes with an ankle injury.
But Smalling, who was the only fit first choice defender, and co. were able to withhold Arsenal in order to claim by far and away United’s biggest victory of the season so far.
“Against Arsenal, just as we have tried to do all season, we stuck together to get the result,” he added.
“I think the key to the win was our shape; we had to stay compact and keep our shape, but also a lot of people threw their bodies on the line for the team.
“There was real strength and solidarity in our commitment. Time after time we put a block in and we really wanted to make sure we came away with a win.”
Smalling, who played the full 90 minutes in England’s 3-1 victory over Scotland, will now hope to establish himself in Van Gaal’s backline ahead of the returns of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Johnny Evans.
Main image courtesy of England Football Official via YouTube, with thanks.