Top four the minimum for Manchester United, insists Smalling

The 25-year-old helped mount a spirited rearguard resistance against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and now hopes the Red Devils will go from strength to strength

Chris Smalling insists a place in the top four is a minimum requirement for Manchester United after Saturday’s hard-fought victory over Arsenal.

An own goal from Kieran Gibbs and Wayne Rooney’s late breakaway strike earned Louis van Gaal’s men their first away win of the season at the Emirates Stadium, while also piling further misery onto the struggling Gunners.

The result lifted United into fourth in the Premier League despite winning just five of their first 11 matches, and Smalling is adamant that a young and expensively-assembled squad still has plenty of improving to do.

“We showed a lot of character, we did not play that well and we will go through the video to see what we could have done better, but it will be on the back of having taken three points,” he told reporters.

“Given the manager and the players we have got, we should be playing better than we are, with more points.

“We have to take each game as it comes, that is our first away win. We know we have two home games coming up, and we need six points, then we can have a look at where we are in the table. We need to win our games.

“The manager has said we worked hard and we need to make sure we take maximum points from our next two home games, then we can look at it from there. The top four is always a minimum for this club.”

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