Chris Smalling confident of Man United progression

Centre-back admits last-16 tie with Marseille is on a knife edge but believes Man United will prevail

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
chris smalling

chris smalling

Defender Chris Smalling is confident Manchester United will overcome Marseille to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League – but has warned his side they cannot afford to concede an away goal.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men take on the French champions at Old Trafford on Tuesday night following a goalless draw in the first leg in France three weeks ago, and Smalling believes United have enough to see off Didier Deschamps’ side to seal a place in Friday’s quarter-final draw.

“It’s a bit of a dangerous scoreline with the way the away goals rule works,” said Smalling, 21. “It makes things interesting for the neutrals, but a bit nerve-wracking for the players and the fans.

“You could see that Marseille wanted to keep a clean sheet and they were well set up in that sense.

“They’re a good side. It was an edgy game over there with neither side wanting to give the other too much encouragement.”

He added: “From our point of view we need to keep things tight at the back because if they score it’ll mean we need to score twice.

“You don’t want to risk conceding the away goal, but I think the manager will want us to go at them.

“Being at home is a massive advantage for us and we’re confident of going out there and getting the result.”

Smalling has featured regularly for United since Rio Ferdinand has been sidelined with a calf injury and is again expected to partner captain Nemanja Vidic at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

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