Chris Smalling reveals the moment he knew the comeback was on against Crystal Palace

Chris Smalling reveals the moment he knew the comeback was on against Crystal Palace

Chris Smalling has revealed that Manchester United players knew the comeback was on against Crystal Palace when several of Roy Hodgson’s players started to cramp up in the second half.

The home side made an ebullient start, surging forward in a kind of fervour Man United couldn’t match, and raced into a 2-0 lead after 48 minutes.

But with ten players out injured, Hodsgon was reluctant to call on his inexperienced options from the bench, and his fatigued side eventually dwindled and gave United the perfect platform to mount a dramatic comeback.

And Smalling, speaking after the game, noted that the sight of Palace players struggling with fatigue galvanised the visitors.

“I think our intensity really increased and I think you could see three or four of their guys cramping up and I think that gave us the edge where we thought we could go after them,” he said.

“After 2-2, in some games, you would probably take that at 2-0 down but we went after them and it’s great.”

“I think our intensity really increased and I think you could see three or four of their guys cramping up and I think that gave us the edge where we thought we could go after them,” Smalling told reporters after the 3-2 win.

“After 2-2, in some games, you would probably take that at 2-0 down but we went after them and it’s great.”

You’d have had mint odds using a bet365 bonuskode if you backed United when they were 2-0 down and that’s something Mourinho is slowly bringing back – a nagging sense that United shouldn’t be written off no matter the score.

There was a moment in the second half when Andros Townsend, who had led the charge forward for Palace in the opening stages, lumped the ball out of play in a way which suggested he wasn’t just trying to waste some time.

You could could see on his face and in his body language that the man needed a breather – some respite from the unrelenting attacks from Jose Mourinho’s men. He was, along with his less experienced teammates, starting to feel it.

And while Mourinho threw Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Luke Shaw into the mix, bolstering United’s attacking dynamic considerably, all Hodgson could offer in return was young defender Jaïro Riedewald, who came on with ten minutes remaining.

The strain was eventually too much. Had Matic lined up that volley after 15 minutes, a Palace boot would have stopped it. As it was, Palace’s defensive rearguard, which had been pushed back to almost inside their own box, felt more than happy to see the Serbian let fly. After an evening of hard battle, the lactic acid ultimately proved to be their downfall.

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Leo is a regular contributor to The Peoples Person's match day coverage and is still mourning the loss of Danny Welbeck to Arsenal.