Time running out for Moyes’ Reds

Date published: 03 February 2014

CHRIS Smalling admits it is getting to the stage where Manchester United need to win every game to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

United suffered their eighth league defeat of the season when they lost 2–1 at Stoke on Saturday. It’s a decade since they last had eight defeats in an entire season.

“Time is running out to pick up these points and we’ve not done ourselves any favours with losses like this,” said Smalling.

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

Though United manager David Moyes emerged after the final whistle to praise his team’s performance, few observers agreed with the assessment.

Despite having Mata, Wayne Rooney and goalscorer Robin van Persie in the starting line–up, United did not impose themselves on the contest.

It is clear the spark Mata’s arrival from Chelsea provided needs a far more sturdy platform than the one afforded him at the Britannia Stadium, where United were suffering their first ever defeat.

Indeed, it was the first time they had lost to the Potteries outfit in the league since Boxing Day 1984, adding their name to a growing list of teams who have ended long sequences without a win against United, which now includes West Brom, Everton, Newcastle and Swansea.