CL play-off: Smalling backs Wayne Rooney to perform against Brugge

Aug 26, 2015, 08:27 IST | AFP

Manchester: With the Champions League group phase beckoning in today's play-off round second leg against Club Brugge in Belgium, Manchester United's problems in front of goal remain a source of concern.

Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling
Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling 

Though strong favourites to book a spot in the group stage after a first season out of the competition in 19 years following last week's 3-1 win in the first leg, United's lack of cutting edge at the sharp end of the pitch was highlighted anew in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Newcastle United.

Louis van Gaal's side have scored only twice in their three league games to date and while one of those was an own goal by Tottenham Hotspur's Kyle Walker, the other was a deflected shot by Adnan Januzaj against Aston Villa.

Captain Wayne Rooney has come to symbolise United's problems in the opposition penalty area, having gone 10 club games without finding the net, but teammate Chris Smalling believes there are no issues with the England striker's confidence.

"I think if you see in his play, he is running in behind and he is giving himself opportunities," Smalling said. "I think we probably had double figures in terms of chances (against Newcastle), not just to Wayne but for the whole team.

"It's just a case of one of those falling in, but the majority of the team is getting those opportunities so if we keep creating those chances, they will come eventually."

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