English Premiership

Mourinho again critical of injured Jones and Smalling

Chris Smalling (AFP)
Chris Smalling (AFP)

Cape Town - Jose Mourinho has once again criticised Manchester United duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling for being too “cautious” while recovering from injury, but added they still have a future at Old Trafford next season.

Smalling and Jones have missed United's last seven matches through injury and last week Mourinho urged the two to "be brave" and be ready to play in Thursday's crucial derby match with rivals Manchester City,

"It's not just about them. It's about the philosophy and mentality around them. Cautious. Cautious. Cautious. Just a cautious approach.

"It's a profile, it's the philosophy of work. Just that."

Mourinho insisted that the two had a future at United beyond this season, but agreed when asked if it was a growing trend for professional footballers to not put themselves on the line for the team.

"Professional football at a high level? Yeah."

The failure of both to recover means Daley Blind is likely once again to partner Eric Bailly at the centre of the United defence.

Smalling, Jones and Marcos Rojo are part of a growing injury list at Old Trafford that includes Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Juan Mata.

The injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time as United are battling to finish in the top four.

Still, Mourinho said that United are looking to finish fourth or above, and that finishing above City was not the main objective.

“This is not about Pep, this is not about City, this is about objectives and fighting for objectives. We want to try to play Champions League,” he said.