Former FIFA World Coach of the Year Jose Mourinho has defended Manchester United centre back Chris Smalling.
England international Smalling has been slammed for his physical approach against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi during Wednesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash.
Messi was left with a bloodied face after an aerial challenge for the ball with Smalling during Barcelona's 1-0 win over United at the Old Trafford Stadium.
“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 was positively aggressive,” Mourinho said on RT.
“That situation with Smalling and Messi is nothing. It happens. 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," the former United manager added.
"By the defensive point of view they 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."