Smalling hasn’t featured for Man United since his poor display in the 4-0 hammering away at Chelsea while Shaw was taken off at half-time against West Ham in the 4-1 EFL Cup win and wasn’t part of the squad which faced Everton.
Not much has been said of Smalling since that game but it looks like he may well still be recovering from a broken toe, even if the club has taken a different stance on whether that injury exists.
Man United’s official website said the following about the two players: “Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw remain unavailable as they recover from injury, while Bastian Schweinsteiger is ineligible as he was not registered in United’s initial Europa League squad.”
I think even if they were both fully fit that Jose Mourinho may have left them back in Manchester anyway given the game we’ve got coming up against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, but it’s good to have clarification on their situations.
Shaw is really having a stop-start return from a serious injury but he’ll be afforded plenty of time and patience to overcome that horror leg break. As for Smalling, he’s certainly regressed from one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League last season to one who has struggled under Mourinho. That being said, he will as well get more opportunities to impress.
Even with the players who haven’t travelled United have more than enough quality to overcome FC Zorya on Thursday and with such an important Premier League game against Spurs just three days later, Mourinho will want nothing more than a professional and comfortable win to secure qualification to the Europa League knockout stages.