“I knew the media would build up something about our relationship in the past.”
Chris Smalling insists there is no lingering problem with Jose Mourinho after his former manager at Manchester United took over at Roma earlier this summer.
Mourinho was the subject of interest from a number of clubs after being sacked by Spurs in April but he was drawn most to the Roma project.
The often polarising Portuguese coach has already poked fun at his reunion with a couple of former players from his days at Old Trafford – namely Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
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Smalling was one of a number of players who was publicly criticised by Mourinho during his time at United but the defender is confident that there are no issues between the two.
“Ultimately, if the manager wasn’t speaking about you and didn’t want you to play and push, that is when you need to worry because he has stopped caring about you, he doesn’t want you involved and he doesn’t want you to play,” Smalling told BBC Sport.
“He is a born winner. He likes to push everyone to the limits. That is what he has done throughout his career and it has reaped results.”
Mourinho infamously questioned the bravery of Smalling and his willingness to play through pain when the pair worked together at United.
Chris Smalling on Jose Mourinho reunion
Smalling revealed that the Mourinho appointment was not expected by the Roma players but he is looking forward to getting to play under ‘The Special One’ again.
“It was quite a surprise to a lot of us, but there was initial excitement from everyone,” said Smalling.
“I knew the media would build up something about our relationship in the past. But from a personal point of view, it is a good thing because I have played under him.
“We have won trophies together. He made me captain in one of those finals – the 2017 EFL Cup final – as well, so having the chance to play under someone who you know is good, has been so successful and is so determined to win trophies at all costs is a positive.
“I know how big a deal it would be to bring a trophy of some sort to the club. Jose’s history shows the club has picked the perfect man to do that.”