Smalling: We didn’t deserve to lose, but goal was poor

Date published: Monday 25th January 2016 9:22

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Chris Smalling felt a draw between Manchester United and Southampton would have been fair, but he was left to rue some poor defending.

Charlie Austin scored in the 87th minute to earn Saints a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Saturday, meaning United have now won just two of their last 10 Premier League games.

Smalling said that “neither side deserved to win” but acknowledged that United need to learn from another frustrating afternoon against a team that defended in numbers.

“The fans want to see goals and see us attack,” Smalling told Manchester United’s official website. “We couldn’t break Southampton down, they played a very solid five and we found it very difficult but we need to learn from this.

“Teams are coming here well organised and Southampton were well organised today, as we were. We both cancelled each other out and it looked like a set-play could be the deciding factor. We were on the end of it today but there were few chances.”

On Austin’s winner, Smalling said: “It was a free header. They’re big guys and everyone should be tighter, so to lose the match that way is disappointing.

“Set-pieces were their main threat and they had a couple of half-chances but [it’s disappointing] to concede that way when we should have walked off with a goalless draw, because neither side deserved to win.

“We started this year very well, but this is a setback. I think it has [lost the momentum].

“We can’t dwell on this too much. We’ve got to go again on Friday [against Derby in the FA Cup] and the midweek afterwards as well [at home to Stoke City in the league].

“The players need to pick ourselves up as we’re the only ones who can turn this thing around.”

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