Jose Mourinho refused to discuss Chris Smalling’s injury situation at Manchester United and hit out at the recent media speculation surrounding the defender.
Mourinho appeared to question Smalling and team-mate Luke Shaw’s commitment after they pulled out of the squad with minor injury concerns prior to the 3-1 victory over Swansea City.
Some reports have suggested that Smalling has suffered a broken toe that will keep him out for four weeks, though these claims were never officially verified by the club.
When asked for an update on his fitness ahead of Saturday’s game against Arsenal at Old Trafford, Mourinho insisted he would not indulge scrutiny surrounding the 26-year-old.
“Chris Smalling, you cannot ask,” he told a news conference. “You have your sources, you trust your sources, you write what they tell you and you did that for 15 days. So you are not going to ask me to comment on your sources’ information.
“You wrote, you spoke, you comment, you criticised. That’s fine for me. I don’t say a word about Chris Smalling.”
However, Mourinho did confirm that Shaw would be available to face the Gunners and will certainly play a part in a difficult run of fixtures, with United due to play Feyenoord and West Ham twice before the end of the month.
“Luke Shaw, yes. He worked well in this period when we had a very small group. He’s ready to play,” he said.
“I don’t have any problem with him. I’m not saying he plays or he doesn’t but he’s my player, a young player with potential. He has things to learn and improve but he has my confidence. Playing now, with five matches in two weeks, in three different competitions, for sure he’s going to play.”
Eric Bailly (knee) and Antonio Valencia (arm) are still sidelined, while there are doubts around Marouane Fellaini (calf), but captain Wayne Rooney has been passed fit to play by his manager.
A win for United would take them to within three points of Arsenal in the Premier League table.