Radamel Falcao
Supporters rose as one to applaud Radamel Falcao as he was substituted Getty Images

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling believes a full pre-season campaign will see Radamel Falcao rediscover his lethal touch.

Falcao, 29, has struck just four goals in 29 matches during his loan spell at Old Trafford in a season where his performances levels have dipped as the campaign has progressed.

United have the option to make his stay at the club a permanent one but the impression is the club will walk away from the deal and the Colombia international will return to Monaco this summer.

But Smalling, who captained United in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal, seems to suggest the club should take another chance on the much-criticised striker, believing he can find the form that saw him score 155 goals in 200 appearances for Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco.

He said: "I think when the manager has given him a chance he has trained well and he has stayed fit, you can see his is getting sharper and sharper and with a good pre-season he will be firing again next season.

Falcao suffered a cruciate knee ligament in January 2014, which ruled him out of the World Cup campaign in Brazil. Sceptics have questioned whether he will ever be able to find his world-class form again and Smalling admits injuries suffered during the striker's time in Manchester have not helped his progress.

Smalling said: "He's had a couple of injuries on the way, and with every player that means you don't get the consistency of being able to train every week. It affects your flow, especially with strikers who need a run of goals to set them off."

Falcao may have already made his last appearance at Old Trafford, having been handed a starting role against the Gunners. The striker appeared to bid farewell as he waved to supporters as he was replaced by Robin van Persie after 61 minutes, although manager Louis van Gaal dodged questions about the player's actions. He said post-match: "I did not observe my players because I was with the fans."