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[21] Chris Smalling on being questioned by Jose about his slow return to fitness

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  • [21] Chris Smalling on being questioned by Jose about his slow return to fitness

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    “I think that was directed at everybody. We had a lot of injuries at that time and he was frustrated that quite a lot of players weren’t available. He knew the picture in terms of liaising with the medical staff. He was just as frustrated as those of us who wanted to be on the pitch. I had suffered the injury and then I played on and there was obviously a break. But I don’t think he knew the full picture then and, once it was cleared up, it was all good.”

    "When I'm sitting down with the manager and the medical staff, we set out a timeline and then we try to shave it and push and push. That's what we are doing because the longer it takes the less games you have. The manager has shown his frustration but we are just as frustrated. They are always trying to push us as quick as we can."

    “If he wasn't interested, I think he would just leave you alone and he wouldn't say any of these things. So I take it as a positive, as a challenge to get back as quick as I can – which I would have done anyway regardless of whatever was said. I don't think I've got anything to prove as such. He knows my character, he knows what type of player I am and that's not changed.”

    “You just keep playing until physically you can’t, and that was the story with the break. I had a couple of injections because I wanted to play in the Chelsea game but soon after that it got worse and that’s when I had to have the lay-off. You always want to push yourself because you don’t want to let the fans down or the players because they’re the ones you train with every day. I think in the Chelsea game I proved that I can play with injections. To be honest, I don’t think any player is ever 100 per cent. There’s always something. There are always going to be some niggles. As players, it’s not about always being 100 per cent. It’s about going on the pitch and doing a job. We’re always managing things – that’s why we have so many physios and stretches and whatever – but nobody is ever 100 per cent.”
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