Time running out in Manchester United's top-four race, warns Smalling

The defender insists the Premier League champions can no longer afford to drop points and claims every fixture must be treated as a 'must-win'
Chris Smalling has urged Manchester United to step up their bid to secure a top-four finish and says the Premier League champions must treat every game as a 'must-win'.

Defeat to Stoke City on Saturday has left United seven points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.

The 24-year-old defender claims United are currently taking “one step forward and then one back” and admits the pressure is now on David Moyes’ side to retain their place in the Champions League.
3/1 Manchester United are 3/1 with Bet365 to finish in the top four this season

“We don't really talk that [Champions League] but I think we all know if anything that's the minimum we need to aim for,” Smalling told reporters.

“If we can get on a good run, we've got the players to do it.

“Obviously we're not in those top four positions at the moment and that's a worry but there is plenty of football. There's a lot to go but time is running out and we need to make sure we put things right come the next game.

“We got punished by the luck at Stoke and it seems as if we are taking one step forward and then one back. But we need to stick together and really get into the next game because time is running out to pick up these points.

“We’ve got to go into it as if we need to win every game. We’re the ones who have to catch them so we’ve got to win the points and put the pressure on them.

“But we’ve not done ourselves any favours with losses like at Stoke. Each point that we drop makes it difficult for ourselves. We need to stop dropping points.

“It is only us players who can really get us out of this muddle that we are in. We need to stick together.”