Smalling sees Europa League success as way to Champions League football for Manchester United

Chris Smalling is determined to stop Manchester United missing out on the Champions League for just the second time in 21 years.

United have slipped three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, whose Champions League hopes are boosted by the fact they also have a game in hand.

The Europa League offers another route to the continent’s top club competition.

“I think it is felt by the players, it was the first time,” the 26-year-old said ahead of Thursday’s Europa League last-16 first leg against Liverpool.

“We’ve still got a lot of games to play in the league. Obviously we have another route in the Europa League to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

“We’re all striving forward and looking forward to make sure that doesn’t happen for a second time.”

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