Chris Smalling has called on Manchester United to ensure that their season is not “wasted”, after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has put them in a promising position as the “real pressure” builds.
The Red Devils were in danger of seeing their campaign fizzle out after stumbling in the early stages of the season under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.
Former striker Solskjaer was charged with the task of delivering a reversal in fortune, and enjoyed a stunning start to his reign which resulted in him being rewarded with three-year contract last month.
United have, however, suffered three defeats in their last four to slip to sixth in the Premier League table and leave the Champions League as their only route to silverware.
A top-four finish is still an achievable target, though, with the Red Devils only two points off the pace and Smalling is eager to ensure that the effort put in to this point does not count for nothing.
“The fact that we’ve worked so hard over these months and to be within touching distance – now is where the real hard work starts and where the real pressure is.
“Ultimately those first few months, we were so far off that we had nothing to lose.
“Whereas now, we’ve really climbed that table and closed that points gap, so we just need to carry it on and make sure that these last few months weren’t wasted.
“Not just this season, in previous seasons, we go through different blips and certain people can write off Man United.
“But we’ve shown that togetherness and that fighting spirit, especially since Ole’s come in.
“I think we’re ready to go for the last few weeks of the season to make sure this second-half of the season was a success and it’s not just a good middle.”
Smalling believes United have the perfect man at the helm, and claims Solskjaer is deserving of a permanent deal after proving his worth on an interim basis.
“If you look at our results since he came in, we’d probably be at the top of the table," he added.
“He’s quite rightly got that job and a lot of us wanted him to get the job.”
United will be back in action on Wednesday when face the first leg of their eagerly-anticipated Champions League quarter-final clash with Barcelona.