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Smalling: Manchester United can’t afford to lose third-straight game

Feyenoord v Manchester United FC - UEFA Europa League

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 15: Chris Smalling of Manchester United and Nicolai Jørgensen of Feyenoord in action during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between Feyenoord and Manchester United FC at Feijenoord Stadion on September 15, 2016 in Rotterdam, . (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

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With Wayne Rooney amongst a batch of Manchester United players left home in England, Chris Smalling captained the Red Devils to a 1-0 loss at Feyenoord in the first group stage match of their Europa League campaign on Thursday.

The goal came late, with Tonny Vilhela arriving in the 18 to meet a right wing cross and send the Dutch hosts to all three points.

[ MORE: Match recap | Mourinho reacts ]

That also means two-straight losses for United, with a Sunday trip to Watford on the docket.


“We don’t have time to dwell on the defeat and we have a few days to recover now. We need to stand up and be counted on Sunday.

“We’ve got to show a lot of character because it’s unacceptable to go and lose three games in a row.”

It’ll be three games in eight days for United, compared to two in eight for Watford. But with Rooney, Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard rested, United should be well-prepared to battle.

Follow @NicholasMendola