What Man United’s Anthony Martial was seen gesturing to Chris Smalling ahead of Newcastle defeat speaks volumes

Chris Smalling has been struggling these past few weeks.

The England international had a game to forget as Manchester United were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle last time out.

He also had a game to forget when the Red Devils were beaten by Tottenham two week’s earlier, prompting Jose Mourinho to suggest taking action.

The Red Devils boss has put plans in motion to offload Smalling and Phil Jones in the summer, and replace the pair with a brand new centre-back to stand next to Eric Bailey, who the Portuguese hopes will be back from injury.

Man United’s Chris Smalling and Anthony Martial
(Image: Manchester United)

Phil Neville suggested the pair only have themselves to blame when discussing their woeful form on Match of the Day 2.

“They have got the best defensive record because they have the best goalkeeper in the world in David De Gea and [Nemanja] Matic out in front who protects them really well,” said Neville.

“But the last two away games [against Tottenham and Newcastle], Smalling and Jones have been a disaster. Against Dele Alli and Harry Kane, they got bullied.”

Smalling is under pressure at Manchester United
(Image: PA Wire)

Ahead of Manchester United’s game with Newcastle, the writing already appeared to be on the wall.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Anthony Martial was seen chatting to Smalling, and gesturing for him to push up and close the space.

The centre-back had a game to forget against Newcastle
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)

Not only is Martial younger than the centre-back, and therefore less experienced, he is also an attacking player, which will have done little for Smalling’s confidence.

There’s still time for the defender to turn his season around, but there is the feeling he is quickly running out of it.

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