Manager Louis van Gaal’s position may be under scrutiny, but Chris Smalling has warned his Manchester United team-mates they are fighting for their futures too.
Although United put on an improved display in their 0-0 draw against Chelsea on Monday night, the fact remains that their manager is under-achieving and under pressure.
Van Gaal, who has spent over a quarter of a billion pounds since taking over 18 months ago, has overseen seven goalless draws this term and his team are five points adrift of fourth place with half the season to go.
But there is no sign that United are ready to wield the axe just yet and the Dutchman himself said following the Chelsea match that he had no plans to quit.
Van Gaal revealed he had already begun discussions with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward about January transfer targets, and Smalling knows that could affect him and his team-mates after they embarked on their worst run in 26 years.
“To say we’re not playing for the manager is silly,” the United centre-back said.
“If anything we are all playing for our own futures as well, so there’s not a case of no one not playing for the manager.
“And every week we want to go out there and show everyone what a good team we are.
“No matter what, whether it is good or bad, this club is always in the spotlight, and we’ve rolled our sleeves up, worked hard on the training field and had to make sure that we regrouped, especially after that loss against Stoke, so against Chelsea we stood up and showed that we were the better team, albeit we didn’t get the win.”