Chris Smalling believes his Manchester United teammates must be mentally stronger after they threw away 2-0 and 3-2 leads against Newcastle United on Tuesday night.
Paul Dummett’s last minute equaliser consigned the Red Devils to their seventh draw of the season, leaving them two points Spurs in fourth place having played a game more. The Newcastle full-back's strike took a slight deflection off Smalling, sending it into the top corner of David de Gea's net.
The central defender admitted that the Old Trafford side were disappointed after the 90 minutes at St. James' Park and called on United to improve.
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"I think if you came into the changing rooms after the match, it was like we’d lost the game," Smalling told MUTV.
"We put ourselves in such a good position and we could have finished it a little bit earlier, but even when we did so well to get to 3-2, we need to hold on and be a bit stronger.
"We got that early goal which settled us down and we could have scored more, but it’s about finding that balance so we’re not giving away these sloppy goals just before half-time and just before the final whistle.
“They’re key times in the game and we need to make sure we’re switched on,” the 26-year-old added.
United have won just once in their previous eight Premier League fixtures, a 2-1 home win against Swansea, and face rivals Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Smalling isn’t concentrating on his side’s current form, but hopes they can continue their recent good record against the Merseysiders where they have won the previous three encounters.
“I think in recent times we’ve done very well against them,” Smalling said.
“Obviously this year at Old Trafford and last season we’ve got very good results, so we’re very confident of going there and causing them a problem."
Do Manchester United need to be mentally stronger?