Ahead of Sunday’s League Cup final between Manchester United and Southampton, Chris Smalling has said that he hopes the experience United players have of playing in the national stadium will give them an advantage.
United have played there three times in the past 10 months, as well as on several other occasions, which Smalling believes will settle the nerves of the players more.
I think we can go there with a lot of confidence. I think quite a few of us have played a number of games there and maybe some of their players haven’t, so hopefully we can take that edge on Sunday and it can work in our favour. To be able to go back to Wembley so soon, and hopefully pick up our first silverware of the season, sets us up for the last big two or three months of the season.
Of course, this is totally true, but the experience of playing there hasn’t done Smalling many favours recently. In the FA Cup final last May, Smalling was sent off in extra-time with the scoreline at 1-1. Thankfully for him, Jesse Lingard scored the winning goal five minutes later.
In his appearance before that, in the semis against Everton, Smalling scored an own goal. Again, thankfully, he was saved by Anthony Martial’s injury time winner.