Manchester United defender Chris Smalling claims the two matches which follow the international break could define the Red Devils' season.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men visit Sunderland in the Premier league on March 30, two days before taking on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for a place in the FA Cup semi final. The England international has identified these games as a crucial period for his side.

Chris Smalling

"When we come back it's two games in three days and that could be a key few days for us in terms of both the Premier League and FA Cup. They will be big games for us. We can't rest on our laurels and we have to make sure we finish it (the title) well before the season is over," Smalling said.

United moved 15 points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table at the weekend, after beating Reading 1-0 at Old Trafford, courtesy of a Wayne Rooney goal.

"The manager said that at this time of year there can be a lot of 1-0 wins which can be ugly, but you just need to get the three points. So it's just a case of moving on from this. It wasn't great but we need to come back from the internationals ready for some big games," the defender added.

Smalling, along his team-mates Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Rio Ferdinand, are all part of the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

Meanwhile, United captain Nemanja Vidic is certain his fellow centre-back Ferdinand deserves his England recall. The 34-year-old has not played for the Three Lions since June 2011.

"It's good for Rio. He deserves the call, he has played well this season and can help the national team. He would have two international games, then when he comes back we have two games in three days in the Premier League and FA Cup. Can he play all of these games? All I can say is that I hope he does well," the Serb pointed out.