Smalling: United will return to the Champions League

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Chris Smalling has vowed that Manchester United will return to the UEFA Champions League next season.

United have been mainstays in Europe's premier club competition, but a disappointing 2013-14 campaign - in which they finished seventh - meant they failed to qualify for European football this season.

The club appear to have turned a corner under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal this term, though, and a victory at Southampton on Monday would leave them third in the Premier League table.

Centre-back Smalling is driven by the failure of failing to qualify for the Champions League and has no intention of missing out on Champions League football next season.

"I was watching it the other week," he told the club's official website. "Even when we were in it, I would watch it on the other night anyway. Even more so this year.

"It's a bit gutting that we're not involved but you can see the standard of football we need to make sure we rise to.

"You hear the Champions League music when they all line up and it's just a case where we've been in it year after year, so it's a sad time.

"We'll be making sure we don't miss out again next year."