“He came in and was chatting a lot with the players he knew,” he said. “It was good to see. It shows the good relationship he still holds with the manager and club despite [it being] such a crucial game and only halfway done.”
Phil Jones was given the job of man-marking Ronaldo in the first leg but at present is injured and Rafael da Silva looked as though he could have been subbed off at half-time after struggling in the first half. If Smalling is to face Ronaldo on Tuesday, he has thought ahead to how he might deal with that challenge.
“It’s about not leaving yourself exposed one-on-one against Ronaldo even though I’m quite quick myself,” he said. “The chances are that if he gets you one-on-one he’s going to beat you. It’s a hard battle. We feel pretty confident that as a team we can keep ourselves together, stay solid and make sure nobody gets exposed.”