English Premiership

Smalling defends character after Mourinho criticism

2017-06-08 08:21
Chris Smalling (Gallo Images)

Burton-on-Trent - Centre-back Chris Smalling believes he has proved he is willing to play through the pain for Manchester United, despite manager Jose Mourinho's claims to the contrary.

Mourinho has accused Smalling of not putting his body on the line, suggesting he would only play when he felt "100 percent" and claiming "brave" players played "at any cost".

But Smalling says the fact he played with a broken toe in United's 4-0 defeat at Chelsea last October was evidence of his commitment to the United cause.

"I think in the Chelsea game I proved that I can play with the (pain-killing) injections," said Smalling, who has also spent time on the sidelines with a knee injury this season.

"To be honest, I don't think any player is ever 100%. There's always something. Out of the whole squad, there is going to be some niggle.

"As players, it's not about always being 100%. It's about going on the pitch and doing a job."

Rather than taking exception to Mourinho's remarks, Smalling said he had used them as motivation.

"It's good when he shows that frustration because it shows he wants you back out on that pitch," Smalling told reporters at England's St George's Park base in Burton-on-Trent.

"If he wasn't interested, I think he would just leave you alone and he wouldn't say any of these things.

"So I take it as a positive, as a challenge to get back as quick as I can, which I would have done anyway, regardless of whatever was said."

Smalling, 27, is in the England squad for Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow and Tuesday's friendly against France in Paris.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Saturday, 04 April 2020
Sheffield United v Tottenham Hotspur, Bramall Lane 02:00
Arsenal v Norwich City, Emirates Stadium 02:00
Crystal Palace v Burnley, Selhurst Park 02:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United, The American Express Community Stadium 02:00
Watford v Southampton, Vicarage Road 02:00
Aston Villa v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Villa Park 02:00
AFC Bournemouth v Newcastle United, Vitality Stadium 02:00
Sunday, 05 April 2020
Manchester City v Liverpool, Etihad Stadium 02:00
West Ham United v Chelsea, London Stadium 02:00
Monday, 06 April 2020
Everton v Leicester City, Goodison Park 02:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

And the 2019/20 English Premiership champions will be ... ?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.