Chris Smalling insists Manchester United nullified Barcelona’s threat

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has said that the Red Devils defence managed to nullify the threat from Barcelona following the early goal conceded through a Luke Shaw own goal. The Red Devils were on the backfoot during the early stages of the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Old Trafford, but they managed to produce a solid defensive display to end with a slender 1-0 defeat.

Speaking after the game, Smalling was pleased with the performance from the team as they regularly pressed higher up the field to curb the Blaugrana threat, he said: "We pressed them high and made it difficult. It's a shame we couldn't get the goal. I thought we created some good chances. We had a spell in the first half where we went after them and then we looked nervy, but after half time we got at them. The whole team, we nullified them. I think there was only one other save for David de Gea. We knew we had to bring that intensity that they're not used to. "

“Barcelona were widely expected to dominate the proceedings at Old Traffordbut they could not quite ascertain the same in the final third of the field. Nonetheless, they managed to restrict the hosts from finding the scoresheet with frequent interceptions “which ensured that goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen had no saves to make.

Both teams will now shift to league action for the weekend with Manchester United facing West Ham United at Old Trafford while Barcelona are on the road to Huesca. The gameweek should be advantageous for the Blaugrana, considering they can afford to rest players unlike United, who are tussling for the top four positions. The Catalan giants are currently holding a comfortable 11-point gap at the top of La Liga. In comparison, United are five points off the top four of the Premier League with a game in hand.