Smalling on Messi's challenge that left Argentine bloodied
Smalling on Messi's challenge that left Argentine bloodied

Smalling on Messi's challenge that left Argentine bloodied

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has opened up after he made a challenge on Lionel Messi forcing the Argentine to receive treatment.

United suffered a 0-1 defeat to Barcelona and Smalling says he thinks the challenge came when they were on the right foot. The England international claimed Barca struggled to cope with his side's intensity during the match. Smalling left Lionel Messi with a bloodied nose after an aerial challenge with the Argentine ace. Messi played on after receiving treatment as his side ran out 1-0 winners at Old Trafford.

"I think it [the challenge] came when we were right on the front foot," Smalling told BT Sport.

"We had to bring the intensity they’re not used to every week and there’s a lot to play for in the second leg. We pressed them high and made it difficult. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the goal. I thought we created some good chances. We had a spell in the first half where we went after them and then we looked nervy, but after half time we got at them," he added. 

"The whole team, we nullified them. I think there was only one other save for David de Gea. We knew we had to bring that intensity that they’re not used to. It was a good battle, my yellow card on Luis Suarez out of all the challenges I thought it was the softest."

United will take on Barcelona next week on Tuesday in reverse fixture, hoping to overturn the 1-0 deficit. 

See: Luke Shaw's own goal proves costly as Manchester United fall to Barcelona

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