Manchester United youngster Chris Smalling won’t be taking anything for granted when the Red Devils take on Tottenham tonight in their first home match of the season.
United will no doubt be favourites to uphold their successful home record and beat Spurs, but Harry Redknapp's side have come into some good form in the pre-season, defeating Hearts 5-0 on Thursday night in a Europa League qualifier.
And Smalling insists that the title favourites know how difficult tonight's match will be, despite the London side being without star playmaker Luka Modric.
“Spurs are a great side with so many good players. They’re an attacking team,” Smalling told Sky Sports.
“Harry Redknapp gives them the freedom to go and play, as we saw the other night [against Hearts] when they scored five.
“They’ll come here, which was a fortress for us last season, but I’m sure it will be without fear, and it’s usually a close game when we play Tottenham.”
Around this time last year, when United and Tottenham met, the former came away with a 2-0 win, but Luis Nani’s decisive strike left Redknapp fuming after confusion between Heurelho Gomes and the referee.
Sir Alex Ferguson said that he hopes the controversy won’t be repeated in tonight’s clash, for Redknapp’s sake at least.
"For the sake of Harry Redknapp’s health, I hope we can avoid the kind of controversial goal that last season had him understandably jumping up and down in rage and frustration," Ferguson said.
"You no doubt remember - who could forget it? - the Spurs goalkeeper putting the ball down in his area assuming his team had been awarded a free-kick for handball by Nani, only they hadn’t, so the ball was still in play and our quick-witted winger promptly nipped in to score probably the easiest goal of his life!”