BURTON UPON TRENT, England — Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has responded to Jose Mourinho’s comments about his willingness to play while not 100 percent fit, saying the United manager had spoken before knowing the full extent of his injuries.
England international Smalling suffered a stop-start season at Old Trafford, missing large chunks of a campaign in which United played 64 games.
He sat out more than two months before Christmas with a broken toe and was absent for a further month in the spring after suffering a knee problem.
Mourinho directed a series of pointed comments at Smalling, as well as teammates Phil Jones and Luke Shaw, suggesting the defenders were not as brave as some colleagues when it came to returning from injuries.
The manager suggested Smalling often did not want to play when not 100 percent fit, but the defender denied that was the case and pointed to United’s defeat at Chelsea in October as one example.
Speaking ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Saturday, he said: “Obviously he didn’t know the full extent [of the injuries] at that time.
“You just keep playing until literally, physically, you can’t, and that was the story. But I don’t think he knew the full picture then, and once it was cleared up it was all good. Read More