UPDATED: United’s Chris Smalling may not miss a month

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Manchester United is currently fighting to get past an early rough spell under Jose Mourinho, but the team will have continue to improve without one of its top defenders.

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According to the Daily Mail, Smalling is expected to miss at least a month, and may not feature again for the Red Devils before Christmas, after sustaining a broken toe in October’s 4-0 defeat against Chelsea.

(UPDATEDGoal is reporting that Smalling’s injury isn’t as severe as previously stated. United isn’t expecting the 26-year-old to miss four weeks, although the extend of the defender’s injury is still somewhat in question.)

United would be dealt a massive blow if Smalling were to miss that much time due to the squad’s upcoming schedule. The Red Devils face critical matches in the Premier League over that span, including taking on Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham.

Mourinho has recently called out Smalling for his lack of “bravery” when it came to fighting through injury, however, the Portuguese manager made those comments prior to the Englishman’s diagnosis.

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With Smalling potentially out for an extended period of time, United is running thin at the center back position, which is already missing summer signing Eric Bailly. The former Villareal defender will miss at least another month after suffering knee ligament damage.