Chris Smalling has hit back at Jose Mourinho in his social media post after the Portuguese was sacked.
After more than 2 and a half years in charge of Italian Serie A side AS Roma, Mourinho was dismissed this week after a below-par start to the 23/24 season.
Back in November, Mourinho was critical of Smalling who missed three months due to chronic knee pain.
The Portuguese said: “Smalling isn’t capable of playing through pain. He holds something back. His specific issue is a real challenge. It’s frustrating for me because his position – center back – is where we’re most desperate for players.
“But that’s how it is. We’ve just got to be patient. I shouldn’t beat myself up or criticize him. We’ll just wait and see when he’s ready.”
A couple of days after Mourinho’s sacking was confirmed, Smalling has now appeared to hit back at his former manager’s comments with a message on social media.
He wrote: “Since signing for AS Roma in 2019, my commitment and loyalty to the club has never wavered. The minute I stepped foot in Roma, I instantly felt at home. Roma is my home, and the relationship I have built with AS Roma fans is something I cherish dearly.
“For that reason I wanted to jump on here to address some of the rumours that I have seen circulating over recent months. Let me start by clarifying that I have never asked to, nor even contemplated, leaving this great club.”
Smalling added: “Speaking openly, the last few months have proved to be some of the most frustrating of my career. There are things in this game and in life that we can control, and others we simply can’t. This injury has been one thing that we couldn’t.
“No footballer wants to spend their days in a treatment room, and this period of time away from my teammates has challenged me, with setback after setback. I have, and will always, put the needs of my team-mates first, but the absolute priority for the medical team is to guarantee that I can play a significant role in the latter part of the season and for seasons to come.”