Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has admitted it would be "unacceptable" if the Reds lost a third consecutive game, against Watford on Sunday (18 September). The 26-year-old has recently returned to the United side and has called on his teammates to improve ahead of their next Premier League fixture.

United have lost both of their last two games, against Manchester City in the Premier League and Feyenoord in the Europa League respectively. Smalling said United's star-studded squad now needs to stand up and be counted, starting with their weekend fixture against the Hornets at Vicarage Road.

"We don't have time to dwell and we have a few days to recover. We make sure that we stand up and be counted on Sunday because we've got a big result to get," Smalling told United's in-house TV station MUTV.

"I think [the confidence] does take a little knock, but I think we can't forget some of the chances we created. I think on Sunday character... needs to shine through because it's unacceptable to lose three games in a row.''

United produced an uninspired performance during the first half of their latest defeat against Feyenoord in Rotterdam. Smalling thinks they improved after the break, but warned his teammates that they need to play at maximum intensity all of the time.

"I think we upped our intensity,'' the United defender said. "I think in that first half they won pretty much every second ball and they had aggression and determination far better than ours. In the second half, I think we matched that but we need to do that earlier to give ourselves a better platform to win the game.''