Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has admitted that his side let themselves down against Burnley last night, despite running out 3-1 winners at Old Trafford.
Smalling came off the bench to replace Phil Jones after just five minutes and made an immediate impact, scoring a brace of headers which included breaking the deadlock just 20 seconds after his introduction.
Despite those huge positives United were dreadful in the first half of the game, with some fans at the Theatre of Dreams whistling the players off the pitch at the interval after watching Burnley largely dominate for 45 minutes.
United fans want better
When quizzed by MUTV about the match Smalling was honest enough to admit United fell well below the standards set both by themselves and Louis van Gaal, despite claiming three precious Premier League points.
Smalling conceded: “It wasn’t a 3-1 scoreline game. Especially in that first half, we all let ourselves down. We could have played much better.
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Van Gaal will want to forget performance quickly
The England international was full of praise for the way Burnley approached the game, stating: “They came out of the traps, they pressed us well, but we didn’t find the solutions to that in the first half. We were very lucky to come in at half-time ahead.
"We knew that Burnley run hard and they run the channels. We knew their game-plan but we didn’t get to grips with it.”
“It helped settle us a little bit going into the second-half. That second-half was a little bit more like Manchester United. But that first half… we need to look at ourselves and make sure it never happens again.“
Ultimately United got the win that takes them back to third in the Premier League, but Van Gaal will be the first to admit his side's efforts in the first half can't be repeated.
Van Gaal said: "I heard the first whistles - that is a concern because we are playing for the fans. The fans are the most important part of the club.
"They keep the club living and that is very important but they also applauded after the match and always in matches there is 90 minutes, not 45."
United have now lost only once in 18 matches but try telling that to disappointed fans, who want performances to match results and were hugely underwhelmed with efforts last night.
What do United fans think of Smalling's comments? Is the result all that matters or should the most expensive squad in the club's history be aiming to do better? Let us know in the comment box below!
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