London: Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is enjoying "bullying" opposing forwards and says he is comfortable playing alongside centre-back partner Daley Blind.
Smalling and the shorter Blind have started all of United`s games this season and the team are one of only three in the Premier League who are yet to concede a goal so far.
"I have always liked that competition with the striker and obviously Daley is not that sort of centre-back who is going to dominate, so it`s a case of I take that mantle on and I am enjoying it," the 25-year-old Smalling was quoted as saying by the British media.
"I feel like I bullied quite a few players in matches in the past but hopefully I can get the consistency where it can be on show every week now.
"It`s comfortable playing next to Daley. Sometimes if there is a big opponent we will swap around. But he can handle himself as well so I am enjoying playing alongside him," the England international added.
Smalling`s team mate Adnan Januzaj is also revelling in a newfound toughness after spending extra hours in the gym.
The Manchester United midfielder, who failed to score in 22 appearances for the Red Devils last season, struck the winner in the club`s 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Aug. 14.
However the Belgian failed to make a meaningful impact as United were held to a goalless draw against Newcastle United on Saturday, and was taken off after 66 minutes.
"I`m working hard on the pitch and off the pitch as well as in the gym to work on my body. I have always been more of a technical player, trying to find spaces to create something with the ball," the 20-year-old told the club`s website(www.manutd.com).
"But working hard in the gym gives you the plus of being stronger and more able to push people off the ball.
"I have started to get back to my fitness but I still need more rhythm to become even better," he said.