Man United vs Barcelona: How Mourinho reacted to Smalling’s clash with Messi

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Former Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho has reacted to defender, Chris Smalling’s clash with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi during the Red Devils’ 1-0 defeat to Ernesto Valverde’s men in the Champions League.

A first-half own goal by Luke Shaw gave the La Liga champions all three points against the Red Devils at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Smalling left Messi with a bloodied nose after an aerial challenge with the 31-year-old during the match.

Reacting, Mourinho told RT on Thursday night that the challenge between Smalling and Messi was ‘nothing’, stressing that such situation normally arises in football.

“That situation with Smalling and Messi is nothing. It happens,” Mourinho said.

“He’s just a tall guy with tall arms. I don’t think he has that intention. But they thought about him. And they have to think about him.”

Mourinho added: “I don’t know if they did or if it was Messi who decided to be quiet. I think a little bit of both. United were positively aggressive.

“By the defensive point of view, they [United] were good, keeping a lot of people behind the ball. But again, there are two legs, you will have to go away in the second game.

“If it was a group phase, where one point would be a positive result… They could because Barcelona never killed the game.”