We want to knock Manchester City off their perch, says Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling wants Manchester Untied to secure top spot - if even for a couple of hours - with victory over QPR on Sunday
Chris Smalling wants Manchester United to gain a psychological advantage by leapfrogging derby rivals Manchester City into the Premier League’s top spot.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side can move into first place with victory over Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, hours before Roberto Mancini’s side take on Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.
And Smalling, who has made 16 appearances for the defending champions this season, believes it is important United wrestle top spot from City, even just briefly, ahead of a busy festive period.
“City have obviously had that psychological edge over us over the last few weeks in terms of being top. If we can go above them it will put a lot of pressure on them when they play a couple of hours later,” Smalling told United’s website. “It would be a good psychological boost to get back to top spot.
“City have maybe got a little comfy in terms of being on top, but if we can get that back [on Sunday and in the coming weeks] then we’ll be hard to knock off because we’re only going to get stronger as the season goes on.”
Meanwhile, Ferguson is refusing to panic despite growing injury problems at Old Trafford, with Darren Fletcher the latest player set to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after it was revealed he is suffering from a chronic inflammatory bowel condition.
Captain Nemanja Vidic has also been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury and Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Michael Owen and twins Rafael and Fabio will miss Sunday’s trip to Loftus Road.
“We are not panicking,” said Ferguson. “There is no point crying about it. You have the injuries and you deal with them.
“We have players who are capable of wearing the red jersey and we have complete confidence they can do well.”