Smalling: Man Utd are an easy target when things go wrong

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Chris Smalling Manchester United Burnley 2018-19
The Red Devils offered a positive response to their critics at Burnley, with Jose Mourinho's side proving that they have the stomach for a fight

Chris Smalling believes Manchester United are an easy target for critics when things are not going well, with the team having quietened some of their detractors in their latest outing.

Jose Mourinho’s side made the short trip to Burnley on Sunday aware that a positive performance and result were essential after a testing start to the 2018-19 campaign.

Back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Tottenham had seen uncomfortable questions asked of the playing and coaching staff at Old Trafford.

Smalling has been with United long enough to know that any dip from the club is treated as a disaster and says those inside the camp have worked hard to turn their current corner.

He told MUTV after a welcome upturn in form: “United is an easy topic of conversation for all fans and it’s not often that we go into games off the back of two defeats.

“It was down to us players to stand up tall and get a result, and we’re very happy with the win.

“We had a lot of chances in both halves and if it had been five or six I don’t think anyone could have argued. The good thing is we’re getting those chances, similar to the last game, and hopefully we can continue to score them

“With us not having a game in the week, we’d been able to work on a lot of patterns of play and you could see them coming out and finishing with the goals, so we were happy with that.

“We deserved a clean sheet and going down to 10 men makes it that bit more difficult.

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“Last season we picked up a lot of clean sheets and this year we’ve conceded early goals. We need to get back what we’ve done in the last few seasons when we’ve conceded very few goals, like on Sunday.”

Romelu Lukaku bagged a match-winning brace for United at Turf Moor.

Those first-half efforts helped to put the hosts out of sight, with Burnley unable to find a route back into the game after Marcus Rashford was shown a straight red card 19 minutes from time.