Manchester United fans were cautiously optimistic following Chris Smalling‘s performance vs Huddersfield in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The Englishman was involved in the club’s 2-0 win vs the home side with Romelu Lukaku scoring both goals to help his team advance into the next round.
Smalling started the match despite his poor display in the previous match vs Newcastle in which he conceded a free-kick for diving that allowed the Magpies to score and win the game.
However, against Huddersfield, the centre-back was far more impressive and put in the type of shift fans know he can produce but wish to see him do so more often.
With rumours of Chris’ United career on the line, the stakes were high for him and he managed to respond to critics effectively but will it be enough?
I thought Chris Smalling was excellent tonight. #mufc
— Serge Adam (@SergeMUFC) February 17, 2018
Good second half from United and, in the end, a comfortable result. Lukaku played well. Smalling good after half-time. Carrick, McTominay and Mata positives, too.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) February 17, 2018
Smalling has been solid tonight, well imo he has been
— Fiona May (@fionamay4471) February 17, 2018
Unfortunately for the former Fulham man, the Red Devils are actually overstocked in the centre-back department when all things are considered.
Presumably Jose Mourinho loves the additional cover due to the aforementioned players’ fitness issues but it’s unlikely this will remain the case next season.
Investment is needed and most of the club’s deadwood remains in that defensive area that the Portuguese manager has to deal with.
Highly rated Axel Tuanzebe is currently on loan but is expected to return to the team next season ready for first team action and someone will have to make way.