Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton & Hove Albion slideshow

Chris Smalling hits back at Gareth Southgate as he vows to fight his way back into England squad

Chris Smalling has questioned Gareth Southgate’s judgement as the Manchester United defender issued a withering response to the England manager’s reasons for axing him and vowed to make himself impossible to omit from the World Cup squad. Smalling’s remarks came as United manager Jose Mourinho claimed he would be happy from a “selfish perspective” if his centre-half did not return to Southgate’s squad after another tirade about the recent treatment of injured defender Phil Jones on international duty with England. Southgate dropped Smalling for England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil this month after raising concerns about his ability to play out of from the back and claiming John Stones, Eric Dier and Harry Maguire were better at it. Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, Michael Keane and Gary Cahill were also selected ahead of Smalling. But Smalling, speaking ahead of United’s Champions League tie against Basel in Switzerland on Wednesday night, admitted he was taken aback by Southgate’s comments and asked how that could be the case when he has spent seven trophy-laden seasons at one of the world’s biggest clubs and plays regularly under one of the game’s most successful managers. United also have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season with six goals conceded in 12 matches. “Was I surprised? Yes, I was,” said an irate Smalling, who has played every minute of United’s past 10 matches and won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League at Old Trafford. Chris Smalling in action for Man Utd Credit: REUTERS “But you don’t play for one of the biggest clubs in the world for as long as I have and won every trophy bar the Champions League without being able to do everything a top defender needs to do - be it playing or defending. This year, as a team, we’ve got the best defensive record [in the Premier League] and I’m very proud to be part of that. While I’m playing regularly under Jose and he’s happy, then I’m happy with that. “I don’t really feel like I need to prove anything to Gareth. Like I said, I play for one of the most successful managers in Jose and he’s only going to pick the best players. While I’m playing regularly and he’s happy then I think, if my season carries on like this, we have a successful season and our team continues to concede very few goals, it will give him [Southgate] maybe no choice in the summer but to pick me.” Mourinho has his own grievances with England. The United manager was furious that Phil Jones, Smalling’s central defensive partner, was given six pain-killing injections before the friendly against Germany and then went off injured early in the first half while players from other teams were withdrawn with injuries he doubted were genuine. Phil Jones picked up a knock playing for England Credit: GETTY IMAGES And Mourinho said it had got to the point where, on a personal level, he would be happy if Smalling did not play again for England amid fears about his players’ safety. Jones missed last Saturday’s 4-1 win against Newcastle and is also unavailable for the Basel game and the visit of Brighton to Old Trafford on Saturday, when Mourinho hopes to have another centre-half, Eric Bailly, back from injury. “I hope he [Smalling] doesn’t get his spot back because somebody goes injured, he comes back injured,” Mourinho said. “There are other injuries where the players cannot play on the Wednesday [for their country] and are perfect for the Saturday [for their club]. Our injuries are real injuries. “I say this in a selfish perspective but it is not a real perspective because what I want is my players to be happy and go to the national teams and an event like the World Cup.” Jose Mourinho speaking to the press Credit: KEYSTONE Mourinho also claimed the FA had failed to keep United properly informed about Jones but said he had not spoken to Southgate. “No, I think it’s a conversation between doctors because I’m not a doctor,” he said. “I just get info from my doctor, and the info was they consulted my doctor in relation to Phil Jones with a little problem in the knee when the national team starts working. And then there was no more contact and then the local injections before the match. We were not informed, apart from that I don’t have to speak with Southgate. I just wish good and want him to be successful.” United will secure qualification for the Champions League knockout if CSKA Moscow fail to beat Benfica earlier in the day and can guarantee top spot in Group A with a point against Basel. Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have not travelled but Mourinho said he would not be put off starting midfielder Paul Pogba, just back from a 10-week lay-off, despite the pitch at St Jakob-Park having to be relaid following the World Cup play-off between Northern Ireland and Switzerland.

Chris Smalling hits back at Gareth Southgate as he vows to fight his way back into England squad

Chris Smalling has questioned Gareth Southgate’s judgement as the Manchester United defender issued a withering response to the England manager’s reasons for axing him and vowed to make himself impossible to omit from the World Cup squad. Smalling’s remarks came as United manager Jose Mourinho claimed he would be happy from a “selfish perspective” if his centre-half did not return to Southgate’s squad after another tirade about the recent treatment of injured defender Phil Jones on international duty with England. Southgate dropped Smalling for England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil this month after raising concerns about his ability to play out of from the back and claiming John Stones, Eric Dier and Harry Maguire were better at it. Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, Michael Keane and Gary Cahill were also selected ahead of Smalling. But Smalling, speaking ahead of United’s Champions League tie against Basel in Switzerland on Wednesday night, admitted he was taken aback by Southgate’s comments and asked how that could be the case when he has spent seven trophy-laden seasons at one of the world’s biggest clubs and plays regularly under one of the game’s most successful managers. United also have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season with six goals conceded in 12 matches. “Was I surprised? Yes, I was,” said an irate Smalling, who has played every minute of United’s past 10 matches and won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League at Old Trafford. Chris Smalling in action for Man Utd Credit: REUTERS “But you don’t play for one of the biggest clubs in the world for as long as I have and won every trophy bar the Champions League without being able to do everything a top defender needs to do - be it playing or defending. This year, as a team, we’ve got the best defensive record [in the Premier League] and I’m very proud to be part of that. While I’m playing regularly under Jose and he’s happy, then I’m happy with that. “I don’t really feel like I need to prove anything to Gareth. Like I said, I play for one of the most successful managers in Jose and he’s only going to pick the best players. While I’m playing regularly and he’s happy then I think, if my season carries on like this, we have a successful season and our team continues to concede very few goals, it will give him [Southgate] maybe no choice in the summer but to pick me.” Mourinho has his own grievances with England. The United manager was furious that Phil Jones, Smalling’s central defensive partner, was given six pain-killing injections before the friendly against Germany and then went off injured early in the first half while players from other teams were withdrawn with injuries he doubted were genuine. Phil Jones picked up a knock playing for England Credit: GETTY IMAGES And Mourinho said it had got to the point where, on a personal level, he would be happy if Smalling did not play again for England amid fears about his players’ safety. Jones missed last Saturday’s 4-1 win against Newcastle and is also unavailable for the Basel game and the visit of Brighton to Old Trafford on Saturday, when Mourinho hopes to have another centre-half, Eric Bailly, back from injury. “I hope he [Smalling] doesn’t get his spot back because somebody goes injured, he comes back injured,” Mourinho said. “There are other injuries where the players cannot play on the Wednesday [for their country] and are perfect for the Saturday [for their club]. Our injuries are real injuries. “I say this in a selfish perspective but it is not a real perspective because what I want is my players to be happy and go to the national teams and an event like the World Cup.” Jose Mourinho speaking to the press Credit: KEYSTONE Mourinho also claimed the FA had failed to keep United properly informed about Jones but said he had not spoken to Southgate. “No, I think it’s a conversation between doctors because I’m not a doctor,” he said. “I just get info from my doctor, and the info was they consulted my doctor in relation to Phil Jones with a little problem in the knee when the national team starts working. And then there was no more contact and then the local injections before the match. We were not informed, apart from that I don’t have to speak with Southgate. I just wish good and want him to be successful.” United will secure qualification for the Champions League knockout if CSKA Moscow fail to beat Benfica earlier in the day and can guarantee top spot in Group A with a point against Basel. Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have not travelled but Mourinho said he would not be put off starting midfielder Paul Pogba, just back from a 10-week lay-off, despite the pitch at St Jakob-Park having to be relaid following the World Cup play-off between Northern Ireland and Switzerland.

Chris Smalling hits back at Gareth Southgate as he vows to fight his way back into England squad

Chris Smalling has questioned Gareth Southgate’s judgement as the Manchester United defender issued a withering response to the England manager’s reasons for axing him and vowed to make himself impossible to omit from the World Cup squad. Smalling’s remarks came as United manager Jose Mourinho claimed he would be happy from a “selfish perspective” if his centre-half did not return to Southgate’s squad after another tirade about the recent treatment of injured defender Phil Jones on international duty with England. Southgate dropped Smalling for England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil this month after raising concerns about his ability to play out of from the back and claiming John Stones, Eric Dier and Harry Maguire were better at it. Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, Michael Keane and Gary Cahill were also selected ahead of Smalling. But Smalling, speaking ahead of United’s Champions League tie against Basel in Switzerland on Wednesday night, admitted he was taken aback by Southgate’s comments and asked how that could be the case when he has spent seven trophy-laden seasons at one of the world’s biggest clubs and plays regularly under one of the game’s most successful managers. United also have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season with six goals conceded in 12 matches. “Was I surprised? Yes, I was,” said an irate Smalling, who has played every minute of United’s past 10 matches and won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League at Old Trafford. Chris Smalling in action for Man Utd Credit: REUTERS “But you don’t play for one of the biggest clubs in the world for as long as I have and won every trophy bar the Champions League without being able to do everything a top defender needs to do - be it playing or defending. This year, as a team, we’ve got the best defensive record [in the Premier League] and I’m very proud to be part of that. While I’m playing regularly under Jose and he’s happy, then I’m happy with that. “I don’t really feel like I need to prove anything to Gareth. Like I said, I play for one of the most successful managers in Jose and he’s only going to pick the best players. While I’m playing regularly and he’s happy then I think, if my season carries on like this, we have a successful season and our team continues to concede very few goals, it will give him [Southgate] maybe no choice in the summer but to pick me.” Mourinho has his own grievances with England. The United manager was furious that Phil Jones, Smalling’s central defensive partner, was given six pain-killing injections before the friendly against Germany and then went off injured early in the first half while players from other teams were withdrawn with injuries he doubted were genuine. Phil Jones picked up a knock playing for England Credit: GETTY IMAGES And Mourinho said it had got to the point where, on a personal level, he would be happy if Smalling did not play again for England amid fears about his players’ safety. Jones missed last Saturday’s 4-1 win against Newcastle and is also unavailable for the Basel game and the visit of Brighton to Old Trafford on Saturday, when Mourinho hopes to have another centre-half, Eric Bailly, back from injury. “I hope he [Smalling] doesn’t get his spot back because somebody goes injured, he comes back injured,” Mourinho said. “There are other injuries where the players cannot play on the Wednesday [for their country] and are perfect for the Saturday [for their club]. Our injuries are real injuries. “I say this in a selfish perspective but it is not a real perspective because what I want is my players to be happy and go to the national teams and an event like the World Cup.” Jose Mourinho speaking to the press Credit: KEYSTONE Mourinho also claimed the FA had failed to keep United properly informed about Jones but said he had not spoken to Southgate. “No, I think it’s a conversation between doctors because I’m not a doctor,” he said. “I just get info from my doctor, and the info was they consulted my doctor in relation to Phil Jones with a little problem in the knee when the national team starts working. And then there was no more contact and then the local injections before the match. We were not informed, apart from that I don’t have to speak with Southgate. I just wish good and want him to be successful.” United will secure qualification for the Champions League knockout if CSKA Moscow fail to beat Benfica earlier in the day and can guarantee top spot in Group A with a point against Basel. Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have not travelled but Mourinho said he would not be put off starting midfielder Paul Pogba, just back from a 10-week lay-off, despite the pitch at St Jakob-Park having to be relaid following the World Cup play-off between Northern Ireland and Switzerland.

Chris Smalling hits back at Gareth Southgate as he vows to fight his way back into England squad

Chris Smalling has questioned Gareth Southgate’s judgement as the Manchester United defender issued a withering response to the England manager’s reasons for axing him and vowed to make himself impossible to omit from the World Cup squad. Smalling’s remarks came as United manager Jose Mourinho claimed he would be happy from a “selfish perspective” if his centre-half did not return to Southgate’s squad after another tirade about the recent treatment of injured defender Phil Jones on international duty with England. Southgate dropped Smalling for England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil this month after raising concerns about his ability to play out of from the back and claiming John Stones, Eric Dier and Harry Maguire were better at it. Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, Michael Keane and Gary Cahill were also selected ahead of Smalling. But Smalling, speaking ahead of United’s Champions League tie against Basel in Switzerland on Wednesday night, admitted he was taken aback by Southgate’s comments and asked how that could be the case when he has spent seven trophy-laden seasons at one of the world’s biggest clubs and plays regularly under one of the game’s most successful managers. United also have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season with six goals conceded in 12 matches. “Was I surprised? Yes, I was,” said an irate Smalling, who has played every minute of United’s past 10 matches and won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League at Old Trafford. Chris Smalling in action for Man Utd Credit: REUTERS “But you don’t play for one of the biggest clubs in the world for as long as I have and won every trophy bar the Champions League without being able to do everything a top defender needs to do - be it playing or defending. This year, as a team, we’ve got the best defensive record [in the Premier League] and I’m very proud to be part of that. While I’m playing regularly under Jose and he’s happy, then I’m happy with that. “I don’t really feel like I need to prove anything to Gareth. Like I said, I play for one of the most successful managers in Jose and he’s only going to pick the best players. While I’m playing regularly and he’s happy then I think, if my season carries on like this, we have a successful season and our team continues to concede very few goals, it will give him [Southgate] maybe no choice in the summer but to pick me.” Mourinho has his own grievances with England. The United manager was furious that Phil Jones, Smalling’s central defensive partner, was given six pain-killing injections before the friendly against Germany and then went off injured early in the first half while players from other teams were withdrawn with injuries he doubted were genuine. Phil Jones picked up a knock playing for England Credit: GETTY IMAGES And Mourinho said it had got to the point where, on a personal level, he would be happy if Smalling did not play again for England amid fears about his players’ safety. Jones missed last Saturday’s 4-1 win against Newcastle and is also unavailable for the Basel game and the visit of Brighton to Old Trafford on Saturday, when Mourinho hopes to have another centre-half, Eric Bailly, back from injury. “I hope he [Smalling] doesn’t get his spot back because somebody goes injured, he comes back injured,” Mourinho said. “There are other injuries where the players cannot play on the Wednesday [for their country] and are perfect for the Saturday [for their club]. Our injuries are real injuries. “I say this in a selfish perspective but it is not a real perspective because what I want is my players to be happy and go to the national teams and an event like the World Cup.” Jose Mourinho speaking to the press Credit: KEYSTONE Mourinho also claimed the FA had failed to keep United properly informed about Jones but said he had not spoken to Southgate. “No, I think it’s a conversation between doctors because I’m not a doctor,” he said. “I just get info from my doctor, and the info was they consulted my doctor in relation to Phil Jones with a little problem in the knee when the national team starts working. And then there was no more contact and then the local injections before the match. We were not informed, apart from that I don’t have to speak with Southgate. I just wish good and want him to be successful.” United will secure qualification for the Champions League knockout if CSKA Moscow fail to beat Benfica earlier in the day and can guarantee top spot in Group A with a point against Basel. Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have not travelled but Mourinho said he would not be put off starting midfielder Paul Pogba, just back from a 10-week lay-off, despite the pitch at St Jakob-Park having to be relaid following the World Cup play-off between Northern Ireland and Switzerland.

Jose Mourinho to risk Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Basel despite concerns over St Jakob-Park pitch

Jose Mourinho is prepared to play Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo against Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday night, despite concerns about the pitch at St Jakob-Park. United will qualify for the Champions League knockout stage if CKSA Moscow fail to beat Benfica earlier in the day and Mourinho’s side can guarantee top spot in Group A with a point. But the pitch in Basel has raised some concerns after it had to be re-laid following Switzerland’s World Cup play-off against Northern Ireland 10 days ago, when it cut up badly after heavy rain and was branded a “disgrace” and “unacceptable” by Northern Ireland’s players. Basel beat Sion 5-1 on the newly-laid surface on Saturday and Raphael Wicky, their coach, and defender Manuel Akanji have moved to reassure Mourinho that it is better than it looks, despite the odd funny bounce. Mourinho said he was prepared to take Wicky’s word for it and that the pitch would not deter him from starting with Pogba, or playing Ibrahimovic or Rojo, even though the trio have all just returned from serious injuries and he would not know until the game was underway whether the surface was an issue. Mourinho has encountered pitch problems in Beijing, Odessa and Rostov since taking over as United manager but said the St Jakob-Park surface was far better than that which his team had to play on in Rostov last season. There has been concern over the St Jakob-Park pitch Credit: KEYSTONE “I have to believe in this moment, and I am more comfortable, in the [Basel] manager’s experience and in his vision, so in this moment I am much more comfortable than I was before,” Mourinho said. “Last season we had to cope with Rostov, and I don’t think it’s comparable, so hopefully everything goes well. “I gave it a look but honestly I don’t know. I want to see after 20 minutes. At this moment it looks okay but let’s see after 20 minutes. But at least I respect the effort of trying to make a positive pitch after it being so bad in the play-offs in the national team. “I think that the intention, the effort, of changing to give a pitch for a Champions League match is very respectful and if the manager says that he knows better than me. He had the match here, he saw the reaction of the pitch, he has the comments of his players, your words are more important than mine.” Wicky said: “I haven’t seen it since Saturday. It’s actually better than it looks. It might have some flaws in colour, but that doesn’t take away anything in function. Once the ball jumped up a little high but overall the pitch is good.” Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Juan Mata have not travelled as Mourinho seeks to rest players after winning the first four group matches while the injured trio of Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Michael Carrick were also left behind. Bailly could return against Brighton on Saturday. Jose Mourinho faces the press Credit: KEYSTONE Mourinho said Pogba would start but that Ibrahimovic would be on the bench again after his 13-minute cameo against Newcastle on Saturday following seven months out with cruciate ligament damage.   “Zlatan goes on the bench and he normally plays because he needs to play and because he's useful for us,” the United manager said. “If we are in a winning position like we were against Newcastle we need him on the pitch, he drops into areas where he gives stability to the team and keeps the ball. “If the team is not winning his presence on the pitch will be important, positive, more aggressive to play with Lukaku. Normally he is going to play and will be a little bit more comfortable for him to play, so instead of 15, 22 or 25 minutes.” Henrikh Mkhitaryan was dropped from the squad against Newcastle after a poor run of form but Mourinho said it was down to having more options in midfield and attack after the return of Pogba and Ibrahimovic. “I think it’s a bit frustrating for me, the fact that there is always a question about some player who is not playing or not in the best of his form,” Mourinho said. “No questions about Martial, no questions about Chris Smalling, it’s always about players in a certain moment, match, period who didn’t play or was not my option. “In some positions where you don't have injuries, you have options and in some positions you have injuries and don’t have options. “I decided to play Rashford and Martial together, the question for many weeks was, ‘Why don't they play together?’. Now it's, 'Why isn't Mkhitaryan playing?’. The answer is very simple, until the international board change the rules I can only play 11.”

Jose Mourinho to risk Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Basel despite concerns over St Jakob-Park pitch

Jose Mourinho is prepared to play Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo against Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday night, despite concerns about the pitch at St Jakob-Park. United will qualify for the Champions League knockout stage if CKSA Moscow fail to beat Benfica earlier in the day and Mourinho’s side can guarantee top spot in Group A with a point. But the pitch in Basel has raised some concerns after it had to be re-laid following Switzerland’s World Cup play-off against Northern Ireland 10 days ago, when it cut up badly after heavy rain and was branded a “disgrace” and “unacceptable” by Northern Ireland’s players. Basel beat Sion 5-1 on the newly-laid surface on Saturday and Raphael Wicky, their coach, and defender Manuel Akanji have moved to reassure Mourinho that it is better than it looks, despite the odd funny bounce. Mourinho said he was prepared to take Wicky’s word for it and that the pitch would not deter him from starting with Pogba, or playing Ibrahimovic or Rojo, even though the trio have all just returned from serious injuries and he would not know until the game was underway whether the surface was an issue. Mourinho has encountered pitch problems in Beijing, Odessa and Rostov since taking over as United manager but said the St Jakob-Park surface was far better than that which his team had to play on in Rostov last season. There has been concern over the St Jakob-Park pitch Credit: KEYSTONE “I have to believe in this moment, and I am more comfortable, in the [Basel] manager’s experience and in his vision, so in this moment I am much more comfortable than I was before,” Mourinho said. “Last season we had to cope with Rostov, and I don’t think it’s comparable, so hopefully everything goes well. “I gave it a look but honestly I don’t know. I want to see after 20 minutes. At this moment it looks okay but let’s see after 20 minutes. But at least I respect the effort of trying to make a positive pitch after it being so bad in the play-offs in the national team. “I think that the intention, the effort, of changing to give a pitch for a Champions League match is very respectful and if the manager says that he knows better than me. He had the match here, he saw the reaction of the pitch, he has the comments of his players, your words are more important than mine.” Wicky said: “I haven’t seen it since Saturday. It’s actually better than it looks. It might have some flaws in colour, but that doesn’t take away anything in function. Once the ball jumped up a little high but overall the pitch is good.” Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Juan Mata have not travelled as Mourinho seeks to rest players after winning the first four group matches while the injured trio of Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Michael Carrick were also left behind. Bailly could return against Brighton on Saturday. Jose Mourinho faces the press Credit: KEYSTONE Mourinho said Pogba would start but that Ibrahimovic would be on the bench again after his 13-minute cameo against Newcastle on Saturday following seven months out with cruciate ligament damage.   “Zlatan goes on the bench and he normally plays because he needs to play and because he's useful for us,” the United manager said. “If we are in a winning position like we were against Newcastle we need him on the pitch, he drops into areas where he gives stability to the team and keeps the ball. “If the team is not winning his presence on the pitch will be important, positive, more aggressive to play with Lukaku. Normally he is going to play and will be a little bit more comfortable for him to play, so instead of 15, 22 or 25 minutes.” Henrikh Mkhitaryan was dropped from the squad against Newcastle after a poor run of form but Mourinho said it was down to having more options in midfield and attack after the return of Pogba and Ibrahimovic. “I think it’s a bit frustrating for me, the fact that there is always a question about some player who is not playing or not in the best of his form,” Mourinho said. “No questions about Martial, no questions about Chris Smalling, it’s always about players in a certain moment, match, period who didn’t play or was not my option. “In some positions where you don't have injuries, you have options and in some positions you have injuries and don’t have options. “I decided to play Rashford and Martial together, the question for many weeks was, ‘Why don't they play together?’. Now it's, 'Why isn't Mkhitaryan playing?’. The answer is very simple, until the international board change the rules I can only play 11.”

Jose Mourinho to risk Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Basel despite concerns over St Jakob-Park pitch

Jose Mourinho is prepared to play Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo against Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday night, despite concerns about the pitch at St Jakob-Park. United will qualify for the Champions League knockout stage if CKSA Moscow fail to beat Benfica earlier in the day and Mourinho’s side can guarantee top spot in Group A with a point. But the pitch in Basel has raised some concerns after it had to be re-laid following Switzerland’s World Cup play-off against Northern Ireland 10 days ago, when it cut up badly after heavy rain and was branded a “disgrace” and “unacceptable” by Northern Ireland’s players. Basel beat Sion 5-1 on the newly-laid surface on Saturday and Raphael Wicky, their coach, and defender Manuel Akanji have moved to reassure Mourinho that it is better than it looks, despite the odd funny bounce. Mourinho said he was prepared to take Wicky’s word for it and that the pitch would not deter him from starting with Pogba, or playing Ibrahimovic or Rojo, even though the trio have all just returned from serious injuries and he would not know until the game was underway whether the surface was an issue. Mourinho has encountered pitch problems in Beijing, Odessa and Rostov since taking over as United manager but said the St Jakob-Park surface was far better than that which his team had to play on in Rostov last season. There has been concern over the St Jakob-Park pitch Credit: KEYSTONE “I have to believe in this moment, and I am more comfortable, in the [Basel] manager’s experience and in his vision, so in this moment I am much more comfortable than I was before,” Mourinho said. “Last season we had to cope with Rostov, and I don’t think it’s comparable, so hopefully everything goes well. “I gave it a look but honestly I don’t know. I want to see after 20 minutes. At this moment it looks okay but let’s see after 20 minutes. But at least I respect the effort of trying to make a positive pitch after it being so bad in the play-offs in the national team. “I think that the intention, the effort, of changing to give a pitch for a Champions League match is very respectful and if the manager says that he knows better than me. He had the match here, he saw the reaction of the pitch, he has the comments of his players, your words are more important than mine.” Wicky said: “I haven’t seen it since Saturday. It’s actually better than it looks. It might have some flaws in colour, but that doesn’t take away anything in function. Once the ball jumped up a little high but overall the pitch is good.” Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Juan Mata have not travelled as Mourinho seeks to rest players after winning the first four group matches while the injured trio of Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Michael Carrick were also left behind. Bailly could return against Brighton on Saturday. Jose Mourinho faces the press Credit: KEYSTONE Mourinho said Pogba would start but that Ibrahimovic would be on the bench again after his 13-minute cameo against Newcastle on Saturday following seven months out with cruciate ligament damage.   “Zlatan goes on the bench and he normally plays because he needs to play and because he's useful for us,” the United manager said. “If we are in a winning position like we were against Newcastle we need him on the pitch, he drops into areas where he gives stability to the team and keeps the ball. “If the team is not winning his presence on the pitch will be important, positive, more aggressive to play with Lukaku. Normally he is going to play and will be a little bit more comfortable for him to play, so instead of 15, 22 or 25 minutes.” Henrikh Mkhitaryan was dropped from the squad against Newcastle after a poor run of form but Mourinho said it was down to having more options in midfield and attack after the return of Pogba and Ibrahimovic. “I think it’s a bit frustrating for me, the fact that there is always a question about some player who is not playing or not in the best of his form,” Mourinho said. “No questions about Martial, no questions about Chris Smalling, it’s always about players in a certain moment, match, period who didn’t play or was not my option. “In some positions where you don't have injuries, you have options and in some positions you have injuries and don’t have options. “I decided to play Rashford and Martial together, the question for many weeks was, ‘Why don't they play together?’. Now it's, 'Why isn't Mkhitaryan playing?’. The answer is very simple, until the international board change the rules I can only play 11.”

Jones to miss Basel, Brighton games while Ibrahimovic not ready for Man Utd start

The pressure appears to be on Chris Smalling to impress for the Red Devils, with Eric Bailly also set to sit out a midweek Champions League clash

Jones to miss Basel, Brighton games while Ibrahimovic not ready for Man Utd start

The pressure appears to be on Chris Smalling to impress for the Red Devils, with Eric Bailly also set to sit out a midweek Champions League clash

Jones out of Basel, Brighton games but Mourinho hopeful on Bailly

The pressure appears to be on Chris Smalling to impress for Manchester United, with Phil Jones and Eric Bailly out of the game at Basel.

Stoke City 'should have played more football’ - Choupo-Moting on Brighton and Hove Albion stalemate

The Cameroon international was left disappointed after his side gave up the lead twice, thus, settling for a point at the Amex Stadium

Stoke City 'should have played more football’ - Choupo-Moting on Brighton and Hove Albion stalemate

The Cameroon international was left disappointed after his side gave up the lead twice, thus, settling for a point at the Amex Stadium

Cameo King! Stoke Veteran Crouch Sets New EPL Record With Appearance Against Brighton

​He's set to turn 37 years of age at the end of January 2018, but that's not stopping Peter Crouch from packing football in any time soon. The beanpole striker is as evergreen as ever and still regularly turns out in the Premier League for Stoke City, despite his advancing years. He doesn't have the legs to start many matches in a row these days, but that hasn't stopped Crouch from appearing from the bench on a regular basis.  Now, the ex-Liverpool and Portsmouth man has written his way into...

Cameo King! Stoke Veteran Crouch Sets New EPL Record With Appearance Against Brighton

​He's set to turn 37 years of age at the end of January 2018, but that's not stopping Peter Crouch from packing football in any time soon. The beanpole striker is as evergreen as ever and still regularly turns out in the Premier League for Stoke City, despite his advancing years. He doesn't have the legs to start many matches in a row these days, but that hasn't stopped Crouch from appearing from the bench on a regular basis.  Now, the ex-Liverpool and Portsmouth man has written his way into...

Statistics Show Stoke Defender Kurt Zouma Could Be Knocking on the Door for International Starts

​A show of statistics has emerged which suggest that Stoke City star Kurt Zouma could soon be in line to challenge for a starting berth at international level. The defender, on loan at the Bet365 from Chelsea, has been quietly impressive for the struggling Potters so far this season, and registered his first goal of the campaign against Brighton on Monday. He has started all but one match in the Premier League so far under Mark Hughes, which will make for pleasing news for Blues boss Antonio...

Statistics Show Stoke Defender Kurt Zouma Could Be Knocking on the Door for International Starts

​A show of statistics has emerged which suggest that Stoke City star Kurt Zouma could soon be in line to challenge for a starting berth at international level. The defender, on loan at the Bet365 from Chelsea, has been quietly impressive for the struggling Potters so far this season, and registered his first goal of the campaign against Brighton on Monday. He has started all but one match in the Premier League so far under Mark Hughes, which will make for pleasing news for Blues boss Antonio...

Statistics Show Stoke Defender Kurt Zouma Could Be Knocking on the Door for International Starts

​A show of statistics has emerged which suggest that Stoke City star Kurt Zouma could soon be in line to challenge for a starting berth at international level. The defender, on loan at the Bet365 from Chelsea, has been quietly impressive for the struggling Potters so far this season, and registered his first goal of the campaign against Brighton on Monday. He has started all but one match in the Premier League so far under Mark Hughes, which will make for pleasing news for Blues boss Antonio...

Fromer Cardiff City player Craig Bellamy

Britain Football Soccer - Cardiff City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Sky Bet Championship - Cardiff City Stadium - 16/17 - 3/12/16 Fromer Cardiff City player Craig Bellamy. Action Images / Adam Holt/File Photo

Hughton hopeful on video assistance after Brighton denied penalty

Brighton and Hove Albion had to settle for a draw with Stoke City, leaving Chris Hughton frustrated about a penalty decision.

Brighton 2 Stoke 2: Hosts impress but are left frustrated after being denied clear penalty

Brighton 2 Stoke 2: Hosts impress but are left frustrated after being denied clear penalty

When the defender admits it, when even the opposition’s official Twitter feed concedes they were “incredibly lucky”, then Brighton can feel an even sharper sense of grievance that they were not awarded a first-half penalty that could have transformed this rip-roaring draw into another precious victory. Although Stoke deserved their point, captain Ryan Shawcross later conceded that he had “clipped” Glenn Murray as the Brighton striker shaped to shoot before tumbling to the turf. Instead of a spot-kick, which seemed certain, referee Lee Mason awarded a free-kick. To Stoke. It meant here was another compelling case for the introduction of video technology. Ryan Shawcross clips Glenn Murray Here was also another passionate case for the value of the Premier League. This is the kind of fixture that can sometimes be reduced into playing the percentages, playing for the point but, instead, deliciously, both sides went for it from the off and never, ever relented. They both sensed the value of all three points and, maybe also, the motivation of playing the final fixture in this round of matches under the Monday night lights. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting fires Stoke City in front “Tinged with disappointment,” was the verdict of Stoke manager Mark Hughes, given his team were twice in front but could not see out the win that would have lifted them further clear of the threat of relegation, although he clearly did not share Shawcross’s assessment of the game as he felt Murray had “splayed his legs” looking for the contact. That seemed unfair while Brighton manager Chris Hughton was emphatic. "My take is, I had a very good view of it and straight away I thought it was a penalty,” Hughton said. “I am really disappointed with that. There are two officials who can make a judgement on that. I was 50 yards away and I could see it, the linesman was right there. It makes it tougher to take. It's a penalty, my view hasn't changed.” And, in fairness, it was tough to take for Brighton even if the result meant they extended their unbeaten run on their return to the top flight to five league matches, a feat they last achieved in April 1983, and there is a growing sense of belonging in this division which will be quietly thrilling for them and their supporters. To fall behind twice and respond twice will nevertheless have contented Hughton against what he termed a “manly” Stoke side, a team with a “lot of know-how”, although the nature of the goals conceded will have hurt. The first came through a superb, flighted ball forward by Xherdan Shaqiri, who has that touch of class, which was tidily taken down by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting who calmly slotted a low shot through the legs of the back-tracking Lewis Dunk and with goalkeeper Mathew Ryan rooted. There then came the penalty incident – “it probably was a penalty,” Shawcross conceded - with Murray, his blood up, cautioned soon after for a lunge at Kevin Wimmer. The sense of anger grew but it burst when Davy Propper, a curious mix of skill and sloppiness, dribbled across the face of the Stoke penalty area before cutting the ball back for Pascal Gross – such a key summer signing – to drill a low first-time shot through the legs of goalkeeper Lee Grant. Jose Izquierdo (no 19) takes the plaudits after making it 2-2 Credit: PA But home joy was short-lived. Just 120 seconds later the ball was in the Brighton net as Choupo-Moting and Bruno vied for a corner, with the ball turned back across the area for Kurt Zouma to thump his header home on the stroke of half-time. There was then another key passage of play as Ryan saved superbly from Ramadan Sobhi and Brighton capitalised with Murray dropping behind Zouma to collect a cross and play the cleverest of reverse passes to Jose Izquierdo whose first shot was blocked by Wimmer only for the winger to collect the rebound and steer it past Grant. Both sides continued to go for it but the only moment of note was the introduction of Peter Crouch who set a new Premier League record with his 143rd substitute appearance, one ahead of Shola Ameobi’s tally. It is probably not a record Crouch will cherish much but he helped see out of a vital point for his team. It was vital for Brighton, also.

Brighton 2 Stoke 2: Hosts impress but are left frustrated after being denied clear penalty

When the defender admits it, when even the opposition’s official Twitter feed concedes they were “incredibly lucky”, then Brighton can feel an even sharper sense of grievance that they were not awarded a first-half penalty that could have transformed this rip-roaring draw into another precious victory. Although Stoke deserved their point, captain Ryan Shawcross later conceded that he had “clipped” Glenn Murray as the Brighton striker shaped to shoot before tumbling to the turf. Instead of a spot-kick, which seemed certain, referee Lee Mason awarded a free-kick. To Stoke. It meant here was another compelling case for the introduction of video technology. Ryan Shawcross clips Glenn Murray Here was also another passionate case for the value of the Premier League. This is the kind of fixture that can sometimes be reduced into playing the percentages, playing for the point but, instead, deliciously, both sides went for it from the off and never, ever relented. They both sensed the value of all three points and, maybe also, the motivation of playing the final fixture in this round of matches under the Monday night lights. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting fires Stoke City in front “Tinged with disappointment,” was the verdict of Stoke manager Mark Hughes, given his team were twice in front but could not see out the win that would have lifted them further clear of the threat of relegation, although he clearly did not share Shawcross’s assessment of the game as he felt Murray had “splayed his legs” looking for the contact. That seemed unfair while Brighton manager Chris Hughton was emphatic. "My take is, I had a very good view of it and straight away I thought it was a penalty,” Hughton said. “I am really disappointed with that. There are two officials who can make a judgement on that. I was 50 yards away and I could see it, the linesman was right there. It makes it tougher to take. It's a penalty, my view hasn't changed.” And, in fairness, it was tough to take for Brighton even if the result meant they extended their unbeaten run on their return to the top flight to five league matches, a feat they last achieved in April 1983, and there is a growing sense of belonging in this division which will be quietly thrilling for them and their supporters. To fall behind twice and respond twice will nevertheless have contented Hughton against what he termed a “manly” Stoke side, a team with a “lot of know-how”, although the nature of the goals conceded will have hurt. The first came through a superb, flighted ball forward by Xherdan Shaqiri, who has that touch of class, which was tidily taken down by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting who calmly slotted a low shot through the legs of the back-tracking Lewis Dunk and with goalkeeper Mathew Ryan rooted. There then came the penalty incident – “it probably was a penalty,” Shawcross conceded - with Murray, his blood up, cautioned soon after for a lunge at Kevin Wimmer. The sense of anger grew but it burst when Davy Propper, a curious mix of skill and sloppiness, dribbled across the face of the Stoke penalty area before cutting the ball back for Pascal Gross – such a key summer signing – to drill a low first-time shot through the legs of goalkeeper Lee Grant. Jose Izquierdo (no 19) takes the plaudits after making it 2-2 Credit: PA But home joy was short-lived. Just 120 seconds later the ball was in the Brighton net as Choupo-Moting and Bruno vied for a corner, with the ball turned back across the area for Kurt Zouma to thump his header home on the stroke of half-time. There was then another key passage of play as Ryan saved superbly from Ramadan Sobhi and Brighton capitalised with Murray dropping behind Zouma to collect a cross and play the cleverest of reverse passes to Jose Izquierdo whose first shot was blocked by Wimmer only for the winger to collect the rebound and steer it past Grant. Both sides continued to go for it but the only moment of note was the introduction of Peter Crouch who set a new Premier League record with his 143rd substitute appearance, one ahead of Shola Ameobi’s tally. It is probably not a record Crouch will cherish much but he helped see out of a vital point for his team. It was vital for Brighton, also.

Brighton 2 Stoke 2: Hosts impress but are left frustrated after being denied clear penalty

When the defender admits it, when even the opposition’s official Twitter feed concedes they were “incredibly lucky”, then Brighton can feel an even sharper sense of grievance that they were not awarded a first-half penalty that could have transformed this rip-roaring draw into another precious victory. Although Stoke deserved their point, captain Ryan Shawcross later conceded that he had “clipped” Glenn Murray as the Brighton striker shaped to shoot before tumbling to the turf. Instead of a spot-kick, which seemed certain, referee Lee Mason awarded a free-kick. To Stoke. It meant here was another compelling case for the introduction of video technology. Ryan Shawcross clips Glenn Murray Here was also another passionate case for the value of the Premier League. This is the kind of fixture that can sometimes be reduced into playing the percentages, playing for the point but, instead, deliciously, both sides went for it from the off and never, ever relented. They both sensed the value of all three points and, maybe also, the motivation of playing the final fixture in this round of matches under the Monday night lights. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting fires Stoke City in front “Tinged with disappointment,” was the verdict of Stoke manager Mark Hughes, given his team were twice in front but could not see out the win that would have lifted them further clear of the threat of relegation, although he clearly did not share Shawcross’s assessment of the game as he felt Murray had “splayed his legs” looking for the contact. That seemed unfair while Brighton manager Chris Hughton was emphatic. "My take is, I had a very good view of it and straight away I thought it was a penalty,” Hughton said. “I am really disappointed with that. There are two officials who can make a judgement on that. I was 50 yards away and I could see it, the linesman was right there. It makes it tougher to take. It's a penalty, my view hasn't changed.” And, in fairness, it was tough to take for Brighton even if the result meant they extended their unbeaten run on their return to the top flight to five league matches, a feat they last achieved in April 1983, and there is a growing sense of belonging in this division which will be quietly thrilling for them and their supporters. To fall behind twice and respond twice will nevertheless have contented Hughton against what he termed a “manly” Stoke side, a team with a “lot of know-how”, although the nature of the goals conceded will have hurt. The first came through a superb, flighted ball forward by Xherdan Shaqiri, who has that touch of class, which was tidily taken down by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting who calmly slotted a low shot through the legs of the back-tracking Lewis Dunk and with goalkeeper Mathew Ryan rooted. There then came the penalty incident – “it probably was a penalty,” Shawcross conceded - with Murray, his blood up, cautioned soon after for a lunge at Kevin Wimmer. The sense of anger grew but it burst when Davy Propper, a curious mix of skill and sloppiness, dribbled across the face of the Stoke penalty area before cutting the ball back for Pascal Gross – such a key summer signing – to drill a low first-time shot through the legs of goalkeeper Lee Grant. Jose Izquierdo (no 19) takes the plaudits after making it 2-2 Credit: PA But home joy was short-lived. Just 120 seconds later the ball was in the Brighton net as Choupo-Moting and Bruno vied for a corner, with the ball turned back across the area for Kurt Zouma to thump his header home on the stroke of half-time. There was then another key passage of play as Ryan saved superbly from Ramadan Sobhi and Brighton capitalised with Murray dropping behind Zouma to collect a cross and play the cleverest of reverse passes to Jose Izquierdo whose first shot was blocked by Wimmer only for the winger to collect the rebound and steer it past Grant. Both sides continued to go for it but the only moment of note was the introduction of Peter Crouch who set a new Premier League record with his 143rd substitute appearance, one ahead of Shola Ameobi’s tally. It is probably not a record Crouch will cherish much but he helped see out of a vital point for his team. It was vital for Brighton, also.

Brighton 2 Stoke 2: Hosts impress but are left frustrated after being denied clear penalty

When the defender admits it, when even the opposition’s official Twitter feed concedes they were “incredibly lucky”, then Brighton can feel an even sharper sense of grievance that they were not awarded a first-half penalty that could have transformed this rip-roaring draw into another precious victory. Although Stoke deserved their point, captain Ryan Shawcross later conceded that he had “clipped” Glenn Murray as the Brighton striker shaped to shoot before tumbling to the turf. Instead of a spot-kick, which seemed certain, referee Lee Mason awarded a free-kick. To Stoke. It meant here was another compelling case for the introduction of video technology. Ryan Shawcross clips Glenn Murray Here was also another passionate case for the value of the Premier League. This is the kind of fixture that can sometimes be reduced into playing the percentages, playing for the point but, instead, deliciously, both sides went for it from the off and never, ever relented. They both sensed the value of all three points and, maybe also, the motivation of playing the final fixture in this round of matches under the Monday night lights. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting fires Stoke City in front “Tinged with disappointment,” was the verdict of Stoke manager Mark Hughes, given his team were twice in front but could not see out the win that would have lifted them further clear of the threat of relegation, although he clearly did not share Shawcross’s assessment of the game as he felt Murray had “splayed his legs” looking for the contact. That seemed unfair while Brighton manager Chris Hughton was emphatic. "My take is, I had a very good view of it and straight away I thought it was a penalty,” Hughton said. “I am really disappointed with that. There are two officials who can make a judgement on that. I was 50 yards away and I could see it, the linesman was right there. It makes it tougher to take. It's a penalty, my view hasn't changed.” And, in fairness, it was tough to take for Brighton even if the result meant they extended their unbeaten run on their return to the top flight to five league matches, a feat they last achieved in April 1983, and there is a growing sense of belonging in this division which will be quietly thrilling for them and their supporters. To fall behind twice and respond twice will nevertheless have contented Hughton against what he termed a “manly” Stoke side, a team with a “lot of know-how”, although the nature of the goals conceded will have hurt. The first came through a superb, flighted ball forward by Xherdan Shaqiri, who has that touch of class, which was tidily taken down by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting who calmly slotted a low shot through the legs of the back-tracking Lewis Dunk and with goalkeeper Mathew Ryan rooted. There then came the penalty incident – “it probably was a penalty,” Shawcross conceded - with Murray, his blood up, cautioned soon after for a lunge at Kevin Wimmer. The sense of anger grew but it burst when Davy Propper, a curious mix of skill and sloppiness, dribbled across the face of the Stoke penalty area before cutting the ball back for Pascal Gross – such a key summer signing – to drill a low first-time shot through the legs of goalkeeper Lee Grant. Jose Izquierdo (no 19) takes the plaudits after making it 2-2 Credit: PA But home joy was short-lived. Just 120 seconds later the ball was in the Brighton net as Choupo-Moting and Bruno vied for a corner, with the ball turned back across the area for Kurt Zouma to thump his header home on the stroke of half-time. There was then another key passage of play as Ryan saved superbly from Ramadan Sobhi and Brighton capitalised with Murray dropping behind Zouma to collect a cross and play the cleverest of reverse passes to Jose Izquierdo whose first shot was blocked by Wimmer only for the winger to collect the rebound and steer it past Grant. Both sides continued to go for it but the only moment of note was the introduction of Peter Crouch who set a new Premier League record with his 143rd substitute appearance, one ahead of Shola Ameobi’s tally. It is probably not a record Crouch will cherish much but he helped see out of a vital point for his team. It was vital for Brighton, also.

Crouch sets all-time Premier League substitute appearances record

The Stoke City striker made some history against Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday evening

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