Smalling targets Europa joy

United-bound defender hopes to end Fulham career on a high

Smalling: Wants Europa glory

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Fulham defender Chris Smalling believes his side can go all the way and clinch Europa League glory.

The Cottagers have been on a remarkable run in Europe this season and take on Atletico Madrid in the final of the competition on Wednesday night.

Smalling, who has made four appearances in the Europa League this season, knows that Spanish side Atletico will provide a tough test in Hamburg.

But having already dumped Juventus, Wolfsburg, Hamburg and Shakhtar Donetsk out of the tournament, the promising centre-half is optimistic of his side's chances.

He said: "Atletico have been regulars in the Champions League over the last few years and they have been up there in the top half of the Spanish league, but I think some of the teams that we have knocked out have been very much elite in their own countries so we have no fear.

"The management have put that belief into us that whoever we play and whoever is in our path we can get past them."

Old Trafford switch

Smalling will move to Manchester United this summer in a move worth £10million that was agreed in January.

His meteoric rise to stardom has seen him come from playing non-league football for Maidstone United two years ago to a European final, and he admits he still has to pinch himself to believe it is true.

"If you would have told me that I'd be in a European final back when I was at Maidstone then I wouldn't have believed you," the England Under-21 international added.

"This is the sort of thing that I used to dream of when I went to bed at night back then. This has been a great journey for us.

"We just have to kick on now and come away with a winners medal."

Smalling might not be in Roy Hodgson's starting XI in Hamburg though, and he will have to force either Brede Hangeland or Aaron Hughes out of the side to get an opportunity.