Chris Smalling looks ahead to Manchester United’s clash with Leicester City

by Leo Nieboer

Chris Smalling has encouraged his Manchester United teammates to be wary of the threat posed by Riyad Mahrez and Demarai Gray during the clash with Leicester City on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho’s men suffered a major blow during the week, succumbing to a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Bristol City in the League Cup.

Leicester have enjoyed a resurgence under new manager Claude Puel, winning four of their last five Premier League outings. A

And Smalling, speaking ahead of the game, made it clear that the visitors could not afford any complacency.

“They know what they are about,” he said.

“And I think, when you play Leicester, you know how they are going to play. You know their qualities and their wingers – Demarai Gray is coming into the team and Riyad Mahrez is in form as well.

“So those are the players we need to keep quiet and, when we get the ball, we need to make sure that we get at their backline.”

Leicester fit the mould of that plucky, energetic side capable of bullying a possibly beleaguered United side into another galling defeat, especially if they get Mahrez and Gray on the ball.

But their 3-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace last weekend provided a useful blueprint to Mourinho, who will likely recall Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku to his side for the clash.

The Foxes don’t boast the same mettle through the middle anymore and United can receive joy by working the ball quickly through the lines before Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Lukaku pin back their defensive line and work the gaps in behind. They cannot afford to be slow out of the traps once again on Saturday.

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