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Manchester United star Anthony Martial feared Chris Smalling producing a poor performance against Newcastle, reports say.
Manchester United defender Smalling is coming in for criticism after a dire display against Newcastle on Sunday.
The Red Devils slipped to defeat at St James’ Park, losing 1-0 with Matt Ritchie’s second-half strike enough to give Rafa Benitez’s men all three points.
Smalling was to blame for the goal, diving and conceding a free kick just moments before Ritchie struck a hammer blow into United’s hopes of securing Champions League football for next season.
And the Manchester Evening News say Manchester United forward Martial took Smalling aside before the Newcastle game.
There, he gave him some defensive advice.
Smalling is no novice defensively having been at United since signing from Fulham in January 2011.
In the time since, he has won the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League.
In addition to that, Smalling has also played under experienced managers Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and now Jose Mourinho.
And the MEN point out how ludicrous it was to see Martial giving him advice before the Newcastle game.
It is said that, in order to stop Smalling enduring a difficult afternoon, Martial told him to push higher up the field.
Yet his words clearly fell on deaf ears with Smalling toiling in the heat of the battle.
Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles, meanwhile, admitted after the game that Smalling and Phil Jones were given a rough ride.
“First-half, they were making a lot of mistakes, giving the ball away,” he said.
“I think it was down to our pressing, being aggressive and on the front foot.
“And obviously, they didn’t like it. I could see their centre-halves on the ball, and didn’t know what to do with it.
“I don’t think they were at it from the start. A lot of their players were missing.”