- Man Utd defender Eric Bailly reportedly ruled out until New Year
- Defender still struggling with groin issue
- Mourinho will hope to avoid any further setbacks that could leave him really short
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Having been missing since last month, Man Utd defender Eric Bailly was never in contention to face Man City on Sunday, but he’s reportedly dealt a real blow to Jose Mourinho.
The 23-year-old has been limited to just 10 appearances in all competitions so far this season, with his last outing coming in the defeat at Chelsea on November 5.
He’s missed the last six games with a groin injury, and now The Sun report that the same problem could keep him sidelined until 2018.
That is a huge blow for United as they face a packed fixture schedule over the festive period with games coming thick and fast as they look to remain on course for major honours this season, and it’s not what they want to hear before such a huge showdown with City as they look to cut into their eight-point lead at the top of the table.
Bailly has been a key figure since moving to Old Trafford, and he’ll be as frustrated as anyone that he will now have to spend further time on the sidelines.
Although he is undoubtedly an important part of Man Utd’s plans, it’s also worth mentioning in the argument against that they’ve managed to keep the best defensive record with or without him in the line-up.
The Red Devils have conceded just nine goals in 15 Premier League games so far this season to give them the tightest backline in the top flight, and so it doesn’t appear as though Bailly’s recent absence has hurt them too much.
Nevertheless, in the interests of squad depth with Phil Jones also struggling with a problem dating back to the international break last month along with Marcos Rojo only recently returning from a long layoff himself, it could be a source of concern for Mourinho.
Summer signing Victor Lindelof has shown signs of improvement and so that will be a boost, but as he masterminds a way to shut out Man City on Sunday, the Man Utd boss will be desperately hoping that he doesn’t receive any more negative injury news in the weeks ahead.