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Smalling: “United still in the title race”

ChrisSmallingChris Smalling believes Manchester United’s stalemate draw in the Manchester derby does not rule them out of a title challenge this season.

United missed the chance of joining Arsenal at the top of the table as they failed to create any meaningful scoring chances until late in the second half and remained two points adrift of the league leaders.

However, Smalling said his side could draw some positives from the result and insisted United remained firmly in the title race.

“We can always be up there or thereabouts and, when we come up against the teams who are around us – obviously Arsenal was a blip – and against the other teams, we have quite a good record,” he said.

“I think we can take a lot of confidence from this game. We more than held our own and we had the better of the chances, so I think we are still in the title race.”

The United defender, who had another fine game as his side kept yet another clean sheet at home, added he felt City were happy to come away with a point on Sunday.

“I think we probably edged it overall with the chances we had in the second half,” he said.

“Towards the end, you could tell that, for the last 20-30 minutes, they were hanging on and bringing on defenders, so it was on us to really push forward and we did. On another day, the chances we had might have gone in.

“I think if we came into today’s fixture and, if someone told us we would get a clean sheet, we would have taken your hand off.

“They’re a very fast, attacking team and I think they were set up for the counter attack, especially with Raheem and De Bruyne who are very quick, so we had to be on our toes.