United must learn from mistakes - Smalling
Chris Smalling says Manchester United need to learn the lessons of this season to make sure they never have another nightmare year like this again.
United, who have finished in the top three in each of the previous 21 Premier League seasons, sit in seventh place and are certain to finish the campaign without silverware.
And defender Smalling admits he and his fellow players are hurt by their struggles this season, but is convinced it has motivated them to ensure there is no repeat in the future.
"It's a strange feeling for a lot of us to be in the position that we find ourselves in," he told Inside United. "Even before I joined, and since I've been here, we've always been competing at the top of the league.
"You learn that you can't take what has happened in previous years for granted. I think this experience will help us make sure we never let this happen again.
"We gave ourselves an uphill task by not really starting the season well and, come next season, we will make sure we work harder than ever. This club deserves to be at the top and, hopefully, we'll be back there soon enough."
United have suffered 10 league defeats this season, their most in the Premier League era, but Smalling says one of their major regrets is that when they have had a good run, such as December's sequence of six straight victories, or the 12 matches they went unbeaten in October and November, they have then suffered a relapse.
"Whenever we've made progress this season, we've not followed it up in the next two or three games, which has been disappointing. That has hurt us. I know how much the fans are hurting and we're hurting as well," he added.
"I want the supporters to know that we're always striving and trying to improve and, hopefully, we can build up a little run between now and the end of the season because the fans deserve it."