NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom: Jose Mourinho has refused to criticise Chris Smalling for a dive which led to the decisive goal in Manchester United’s shock 1-0 defeat at Newcastle.
Mourinho was scathing about United’s defending as Matt Ritchie scored from the 65th minute free-kick awarded after Smalling threw himself to the ground before he was tackled by Jonjo Shelvey.
The Manchester United defender’s yellow card was followed by further punishment as Shelvey’s free-kick was headed down by Florian Lejeune before Dwight Gayle touched it into the path of Ritchie.
But he didn’t turn his guns on England international Smalling.“I’ve no complaints. I don’t like to complain about referees in this kind of situation, but I was disappointed with our defending,” Mourinho said.
“I don’t know if it was a free-kick, but I know we missed a challenge in the air.“I remember a Newcastle player jumping while two of my men were looking at him and staying on the floor, then we missed the second ball.
“We try to work on organisation. They have their jobs and know their responsibility.”It was the closest Mourinho came to criticising his players in a surprisingly composed assessment of one of their worst performances of the season. His comments to his players in the privacy of the dressing room are likely to possess a far sharper edge after they fell 16 points behind leaders Manchester City.