Smalling: ‘Few fans in the world like Roma’

Chris Smalling says ‘very few clubs in the world have a fanbase’ like Roma after their display at the training ground and he is ‘ready to play 90 minutes’ against Manchester United in the Europa League semi-final.

The first leg kicks off on Thursday at Old Trafford at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

“The one disappointment is we don’t have a full house, likewise having my family watching two clubs that are a big part of my career. It doesn’t take away the emotions, as it’s so rare that you know every player on the pitch.

“It’s such a big game as well, it has all the ingredients to put in one of my best performances,” said the former Manchester United defender in his press conference.

“I’m feeling good. It’s no secret I’ve missed a lot of games this season, which is unusual for me. I am feeling fit, ready to contribute.”

The ultras saw off the team with fireworks, flares, flags and chants at the Trigoria training ground this afternoon.

“There are very few clubs in the world who have a fanbase that can do things like that. We know the importance of bringing a positive result back to Rome so we give the fans something to be proud of, and of course there’s the second leg, it’s to be played over 180 minutes.”

Smalling was sent out on loan and then sold to Roma because he was not considered to be in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans. Does that help motivate him tomorrow?

“Oh yes, 100 per cent it’s a special game, it’s a semi-final, added on top playing against United. Being in Rome for the past nearly two years, I know the importance of bringing home a trophy, because it’s been far too long.

“There are so many ingredients for this, I think it’ll be a good game to be a part of. I am thankful that I am fit and ready to contribute, because the whole squad needs every player.

“I’ve had some good training, I am ready to play 90 minutes if the manager decides. It’s a game I am really looking forward to, I can’t wait to get on the pitch and get going. There’s been a lot of build-up to this game, now I’m just eager to get my boots on and help this club.”

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