“It did remind me of that era," said Smalling, who scored United's opener.
“There's not been many games where we've come back - granted, there's not many games when we've gone 2-0 down.
“But you can see how close we are as a group that everyone celebrated together, and how much it means to us, because that was a huge win."
Agreeing United had not previous responded in such a manner this season, Smalling added: “Our intensity really increased and you could see probably four of their guys cramping up.
“That gave us that edge where we thought we could go after them. Even when it was 2-2, where in some games you'd probably take that after being 2-0 down, we went after them. It was great.
“We showed a lot of character. Before the game we knew how important this was to really try and make a gap with the other teams, so it's such a great feeling.
“You can see from the celebrations at the end how much that meant to all of us."