United's Chris Smalling focusing on strong finish to season

Manchester United's English defender Chris Smalling takes part in a team training session at their Carrington Training Centre in Manchester, north west England on March 16, 2016 ahead of their UEFA Europa League second leg football match against Liverpool. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is ready for a strong second half of the season as his side prepare for the first leg of League Cup semi-final against Hull City on Tuesday.

A toe injury in October kept the England defender out of action for 12 games at the end of last year and Smalling is now focused on putting a difficult spell behind him.

"I think the more games (I get) the better," Smalling told the reporters.

"I am always one that would rather play than train. We are looking forward to it and obviously the last eight or nine weeks we have been getting that consistency."

The 27-year-old, who only made his second start since Oct. 23 against Reading last weekend, insisted that he needed time on the sidelines to recover from his injury and that he has full support of manager Jose Mourinho.

"I think it's nice when the manager wants you out there to play. I try to push myself to the limit all the time and in the end it just needed the rest," Smalling added.

United, who are sixth in the Premier League, are on a 14-game unbeaten run in all competitions and have progressed to round of 32 in the Europa League as well as the fourth-round of the FA Cup.

Following the midweek's cup game, United host second-placed Liverpool in a league clash on Sunday before visiting 11-placed Stoke City on Jan. 21.

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