United defender Chris Smalling was involved in a heavy challenge with Lionel Messi as Barca defeated United on Wednesday.

The Argentine superstar was left with a bloodied nose after a collision with the big Red Devils defender.

“We spoke afterwards. We had a brief chat and shook hands,” Smalling said to the BBC in an interview following the match.

Messi was left with some bruises on his face. (Photo: Marca)

“He knew it was an accident.”

The challenge from Smalling took place after Barca took the lead thanks to Luis Suarez header which was deflected in off left-back Luke Shaw with Lionel Messi providing the assist.

Going back to the challenge with the Barcelona no.10, Smalling said: “I didn’t realise at the time that I’d actually caught him like that.

“Suarez came up to me after the game as well. We had a good tussle and he just shook my hands afterwards and said ‘good luck’.

“It’s nice when you can have that battle on the pitch and then there’s respect after the game because, ultimately, you are just trying to do your best.”

Going into the second-leg match with a one-goal disadvantage and facing Barcelona away from home will for sure be a very difficult task but Smalling still believes the Red Devils have the ability to produce yet another comeback.

“We know it can be done,” said the 29-year old centre-back.

“If we can carry on from the second-half performance when we were really on the front foot, brought intensity to the game and caused them a few problems, that’s what we need to go there and do.

“We knew that we couldn’t go completely gung-ho in that second half because there is another leg.

“We’ve got to make sure we go there with no regrets and leave everything there to give ourselves the best possible chance.”

The return leg is set for next Tuesday at the Camp Nou in Barcelona.


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