Manchester United’s Chris Smalling is looking forward to a physical encounter ahead of his side’s Europa League clash against Liverpool on Thursday.
Man United are preparing to take on Liverpool for the first time in European competition.
With Louis van Gaal’s side struggling in the Premier League, winning the Europa League could be United’s only chance of securing Champions League football next term. Smalling insisted he is looking forward to the “emotion” of the tie.
“I think, quite often, the first 20 minutes can be quite frantic,” Smalling said.
”But you want to get the upper hand on your opponent, whoever you’re playing against. For me, for example, it’s the striker. Very early on, you want to get an early challenge in and make sure you dominate.
“These are games the players look forward to and it’s one I’m certainly looking forward to playing in.
“It’s good that the manager sees it from a tactical viewpoint and we work on the training pitch before the game on our tactics so we don’t get caught up in the occasion. But when you cross over that white line, I think the emotion can drive you on and hopefully bring out a better performance.”
United against Liverpool is a fixture steeped in history and emotion and it will be exciting to see the two sides take each other on in Europe.
However, it is important that van Gaal’s side don’t get too caught up in the occasion. It is vital that United secure a positive result to take back to Old Trafford in the second leg next week.