Garth Crooks salutes Man United star for ‘performance of a lifetime’

Garth Crooks raves about Chris Smalling after Manchester United's 3-2 win over Manchester City

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho Photo: The Sport Review

Garth Crooks singled out Chris Smalling for special praise after he produced a “performance of a lifetime” in Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.

The England defender has been a regular fixture in the first team for Manchester United under Jose Mourinho this season and has scored three goals in 24 games in the top flight for the Red Devils.

Smalling ended up being the hero for the Red Devils after they found themselves 2-0 down to Manchester City at half-time at The Etihad.

Paul Pogba scored two brilliant second-half goals before Smalling expertly volleyed home the winner for Mourinho’s men to claim the three points and put Manchester City’s title celebrations on hold.

Crooks was particularly impressed by Smalling’s ability to turn his fortunes around after a difficult first half for the defender against the Citizens.

Writing in his column for BBC Sport, Crooks said: “Chris Smalling gets in my team of the week for his sheer mental strength. Having been mowed down by Vincent Kompany for City’s first goal, Smalling gathered himself and produced a performance of a lifetime.

“I’ve seen defenders disintegrate in games of such importance after such a high-profile mistake, but not Smalling.

“The England centre-back overcame the obvious psychological trauma, dug in and produced a fantastic winning goal. Sometimes you get what you deserve in football.”

Manchester United will return to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they host West Bromwich Albion in the top flight at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils are currently in second place in the Premier League table as they look to try and finish as runners-up to Manchester City this term.

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