0Shares0000Chris Smalling is setting Manchester United a minimum target finish of second © AFP/File / Oli SCARFFLONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 27 – Chris Smalling says securing the Premier League runners-up spot must be the “bare minimum” for Manchester United, whose win against Chelsea gave them a major confidence boost in the race for Champions League places.United never ended the season lower than third in the Premier League era under Alex Ferguson but have failed to finish higher than fourth since he retired as a champion in 2013 — a side Smalling was part of. “I think obviously we’ve been second for quite a while and that needs to be our bare minimum,” the United defender said.“The fact we get to play Liverpool at home as well I think is a big advantage.“If we can separate ourselves from Chelsea and Liverpool and work our way up then we can do that. But I think that’s our (goal) first and foremost.”United were overtaken by Liverpool on Saturday but regained second spot thanks to Sunday’s 2-1 comeback win against Chelsea.Romelu Lukaku and substitute Jesse Lingard secured an important victory for United, who head to Crystal Palace next Monday before Jurgen Klopp’s Reds arrive at Old Trafford.“I think being able to beat a rival, it’s almost like a six-pointer because of how close we are,” Smalling said of the Chelsea win.“The confidence just breeds (confidence) and we’re ready for the next one. I think considering sort of how close we are in the table, I think it gives them (Chelsea) a massive blow and us a lift.”Manchester City are 13 points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand but only six points separate United in second from Chelsea in fifth, with just four Champions League places up for grabs.“These are huge games and I think the fact we play a lot of our rivals at home is going to be a big factor because of our home form,” said Smalling.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2 The race had been brewing ever since Bermudez and Calderon were elected to the Assembly in 2002. Former Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh of Whittier was expected to be a third Democratic candidate but he died in March. Firebaugh’s supporters split between Bermudez and Calderon. The race was expensive. Bermudez outspent Calderon, $767,272 to $691,903. The corrections officers union and attorneys groups spent about $677,000 on behalf of Bermudez, while business groups provided Calderon with $738,000. Assemblyman Ron Calderon led Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez by fewer than 400 votes Tuesday night in the hotly contested 30th state Senate District Democratic primary. But Calderon’s 20,257-19,863 margin might be close enough that it could change. There still remain uncounted absentee and provisional ballots. The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office has the month of June to finish counting the ballots. Bermudez, D-Norwalk, and Calderon, D-Montebello, each gave up their own seats two years before they were termed out to run for the seat being vacated by termed-out Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Norwalk. The winner will face Republican Selma Minerd of Whittier.