Defence is key! Chris Smalling thrilled at Man United’s watertight back four

Manchester United's Chris Smalling heaps praise on the Red Devils defence after keeping their fifth straight clean sheet in the league

sir alex ferguson
Ferguson's side are 15 points clear at the top of the table Photo: The Sport Review

sir alex ferguson

Chris Smalling has hailed Manchester United’s defence stability after the Red Devils secured their fifth-straight clean sheet in the Premier League with a 1-0 win against Reading on Saturday.

Sir Alex Ferguson has the luxury of having all his defenders fit with the exception of Phil Jones, who has been struggling with a persistent ankle injury since February.

The Red Devils boss was missing many of his key defenders earlier in the season, with midfielder Michael Carrick forced to deputise at centre-half.

But Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have impressed at centre-half in recent weeks, and Smalling believes their defensive prowess has been key to United moving 15 points clear of Manchester City in the title race.

“That’s linked in with all our defenders coming back now,” Smalling told United’s website.

“It’s just Phil [Jones] who is struggling but I think he will be back soon and our strength is shown by the players that we have available.

“It wasn’t a pretty game [against Reading]. It got pretty ugly in the second half and I think we were just happy to get the three points. That was what we needed and we got a clean sheet as well so we’re happy with that.

“We knew what we had to do before City played, but [City losing 2-0 at Everton] gave us an extra incentive. We would like to have scored a few more goals but we stayed solid and got the 1-0 win.”

Gary Neville
Gary Neville delivers his verdict on Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea FC
Gabriel Martinelli
Mikel Arteta delivers fresh update for Arsenal fans on Gabriel Martinelli
Jamie Redknapp
Jamie Redknapp makes prediction about where Liverpool FC will finish
Michael Owen
Michael Owen states his prediction for Man City v Wolves
Thomas Tuchel
Timo Werner sets out Chelsea FC targets for the rest of the season
Gary Neville
Gary Neville delivers his verdict on Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea FC
Gabriel Martinelli
Mikel Arteta delivers fresh update for Arsenal fans on Gabriel Martinelli
Jamie Redknapp
Jamie Redknapp makes prediction about where Liverpool FC will finish
Michael Owen
Michael Owen states his prediction for Man City v Wolves
Thomas Tuchel
Timo Werner sets out Chelsea FC targets for the rest of the season
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature