Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Smalling Urges United Not To Treat Europa League With Contempt

Chris Smalling has urged Manchester United not to treat the Europa League with contempt.

The Reds face Ajax this week in Europe’s booby prize competition having failed to reach the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

And whilst taking part in the Thursday night games is going to dent United’s pride, Smalling reckons they should embrace the chance to win more silverware.

He knows more about the competition than most having been part of the Fulham squad that reached 2010 final where they lost to David de Gea’s Atletico Madrid in Hamburg 2-1.

Smalling said: ``You only have to look at the teams in it to realise it is a trophy worth winning.

``I mean, eight of the teams were competing in the Champions League earlier this season and a lot of others have done so previously.

``The Europa League is a strong competition and there are plenty of mouth watering ties in this next phase.’’

Smalling concedes he would prefer to be taking on the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the glamour contests in the Champions League.

But he is pushing for United to lift the trophy at the first time of asking having never competed in this cup before.

He added: ``Obviously we would still like to be in the Champions League but we’re looking at the Europa League as a second chance.

``We’re going to go out there and show Europe we can still perform and we can still win trophies.

``We want to reach the final, although we know it won’t be easy. We let ourselves down in Switzerland in losing to Basel in the Champions League and now this is an opportunity to win another trophy that has plenty of history.

``All of the players will be going out on the pitch and giving our all to reach the final.’’

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