Chris Smalling never intended to hurt Lionel Messi, says Jose Mourinho

Smalling struck Messi in the face (Picture: Rex Features)

Jose Mourinho insisted there was no intent from Chris Smalling to injure Lionel Messi after the pair clashed in the Champions League.

Messi was left bloodied and bruised by Smalling’s flailing arm in the first half of Manchester United’s clash with Barcelona.

Smalling protested his innocence, but United certainly benefited from the accidental collision as Messi’s energy dropped considerably after reviving treatment.

United managed to keep Barcelona at bay for much of the game and Mourinho was impressed with his former side’s aggression.

‘I don’t if they did or if Messi decided to be quiet,’ Mourinho told Russia Today.

‘I think a little bit of both. United was positively aggressive. That situation with Smalling and Messi was nothing.

(Picture: Rex Features)
Messi was left bleeding from the collision (Picture: EPA)

‘It happens. It’s just a tall guy who long arms, I don’t think there was any intention in it.

‘They thought about him (Messi) and they have to think about him.

‘They were good from a defensive point of view, keeping a lot of people behind the ball. These are two legs.

‘You have to go away in the second leg. If it was a group game where a point is a positive result…. they could [still progress] because Barcelona never killed the game.’


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