The Reds defender pulled up in the build-up to Juan Mata’s opening goal and was subsequently replaced by Mike Keane just before the half-time break. While speaking to reporters after the final whistle, the boss confirmed the reason behind his premature exit.
“Of course, we have a lot of injuries right now,” van Gaal explained. “We had seven and now Smalling is already injured again so it is eight. You need all of your players. It is a groin injury, but we will have to wait and see how long. It is too early at the moment.”
Smalling joins Jonny Evans, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, Anderson, Michael Carrick and Jesse Lingard on the worryingly long list of players who are injured.