Smalling eyes United double

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Football News

Chris Smalling has his sights set on a league and European double, and insists that Manchester United will do everything they can to win the Europa League this season.

As the Red Devils prepare for their last-32 second leg clash with Ajax at Old Trafford, the 22-year-old defender is set to return from a three-game absence to face the Eredivisie giants on Thursday.

Sir Alex Ferguson named a strong line-up in last week's 2-0 first leg victory at the Amsterdam Arena, dispelling the notion that United would not be taking the competition seriously, having been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages back in December.

But Smalling is adamant that Europa League success is high on the players' list of agendas, and reassured any doubters that they will be "giving their all" to reach the final.

"You only need to look at the teams who are still in the Europa League to realise it's a competition worth winning," he told Inside United and

"I mean, eight of the teams were competing in the Champions League earlier this season and a lot of the others have done so previously. The Europa League is a strong competition and there are plenty of mouth-watering ties in this phase.

"Obviously we'd still like to be in the Champions League but we're looking at the Europa League as a second chance. We're going to go out there and show Europe we can still perform and we can still win trophies.

"We want to reach the final, although we know it won't be easy. All of the players will be going out on the pitch and giving our all to reach the final."

In his first season at United, Smalling was part of the squad that claimed the Premier League crown, and that taste of silverware has only made the former Fulham starlet's desire for more trophies even stronger.

"I was lucky to win the league in my first season and, at the risk of sounding greedy, I want to win the league every year," he added. "That's how it should be at Manchester United.

"In fact, I'd be disappointed if we didn't win at least one or two trophies every season. I don't feel like a new boy at all anymore. I've been here for 18 months, so I feel well and truly settled.

"I think I've learnt a lot since I joined and I'm striving all the time to improve because I want to be a part of many more title wins in the future."

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Chris Smalling
Europa League
Manchester United

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