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Wembley joy can help United's bid for title next year, insists Smalling


Chris Smalling is relishing the "high stakes" FA Cup semi-final clash with Tottenham this evening and believes Wembley glory can be the catalyst for an improved Manchester United trophy charge next season.

Jose Mourinho has secured progress rather than plaudits since taking the reins at Old Trafford.

Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield success in his first season was tempered by a sixth-place Premier League finish that is sure to be bettered this term.

United are on course to finish runners-up to champions Manchester City but surprise Champions League and Carabao Cup exits, along with their Uefa Super Cup loss, leaves the FA Cup as the Portuguese's only shot at silverware.

"The games (at Wembley) are always high stakes," centre-back Smalling said.

"It's the build-up and it's exciting. We have played Tottenham there and we beat them at home, so we have beaten each other.

"I think being able to go back there and have half the stadium filled with red shirts, it will definitely affect them."

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Asked if United would consider second spot and the FA Cup as a successful season, Smalling added: "Yes, I think we would.

"I think we would take that and hopefully it will spur us on to make sure we have more of a run at the title (next season).

"We have been second for quite a while so that has to be the bare minimum that we can take there, and we've got a trophy that could only be a couple of games away."

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