Chris Smalling was impressed by Manchester United’s handling of Wednesday night’s victory over Saint-Etienne. United were already three goals to the good in the Europa League last 32 tie thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hat-trick in last week’s first leg, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s first half strike sealed a comfortable aggregate victory. But with the intimidating atmosphere of the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard, and Eric Bailly’s second half dismissal for two bookable offences, it wasn’t necessarily plain sailing.
Still, the United defender was full of praise for the way that Jose Mourinho’s side handled the occasion when speaking to MUTV after the game:
“It’s testament to our fitness levels and the games we’ve played that we can almost make it look like its 11 against 11 even when we’re a man down”, he said. “We had chances in that period that were better than theirs so overall it’s a good job.”
“We knew we were coming into the game a few goals ahead but it was all about that first goal. The crowd could have inspired them to do anything so it really helped us control the game.”