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‘Totally against!’ Mourinho slams friendlies after losing Man United stars to injury

Date Posted,March 29, 2017

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has slammed international friendlies after Chris Smalling and Phil Jones picked up injuries on England duty.

Both Red Devils defenders were forced to sit out the Three Lions’ 2-0 World Cup qualification win over Lithuania.

Smalling picked up a leg injury during England’s friendly defeat to Germany last Wednesday while Jones could be out for a month after he suffered a toe injury in training , ironically after a challenge from Smalling.

“I am totally against the friendly matches,” Mourinho told Sky Sports Soccer Saturday.

“I think friendly matches for the national team only make sense before the final phases.

“A couple of weeks before the Euros or a couple of weeks before the World Cup makes sense. But mid-season friendly matches mixed with qualification matches, I don’t think that makes sense.

Chris Smalling injured Man United team-mate Phil Jones in England traning (Photo: Getty)
Smalling then suffered a leg injury during the friendly clash with Germany (Photo: Shaun Botterill)

“On top of that the matches are not really big matches so I am not a big fan. But I think one day I will be there so I cannot be very critical.”

Mourinho could be without both centre-backs for Saturday’ clash with West Brom, with the Red Devils manager claiming he lost up to five players through injury during the latest international break of the 13 on duty.

“I don’t know how but both central defenders got injured in the English camp even before the match,” Mourinho added.

“The match was on the Sunday against Lithuania and they were injured in the training session. We lost four, I think [Paul] Pogba is also out, that’s five, so we are a bit in trouble.

“I watched Valencia’s match yesterday in Ecuador, Marcos Rojo in Bolivia, but they don’t arrive until Thursday afternoon.

“If you compare our situation with our opponents, West Bromwich Albion, only one player on international duty. They had time to work, time to rest and prepare. It’s going to be hard.”

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