Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has given a slightly bizarre reason for not giving more playing time to Eric Bailly at the moment.
The Ivorian defender has spent time out injured this season but recently played 90 minutes for the club in their 3-2 win away to Manchester City.
Despite being fit and available again, Bailly continues to be overlooked by Mourinho, who admitted the only reason for it is because he wants to allow his other centre-back options to play and fight for places with their national teams at this summer’s World Cup.
Bailly, however, will not be going to Russia this summer as Ivory Coast failed to qualify for the tournament, which means it looks like the former Villarreal man will be getting plenty off rest before next season.
Mourinho on Bailly: "There's no situation. It's fine, no injury. He’s one of our five central defenders but he's the only central defender whose country is not in the World Cup.” #mufc
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) May 3, 2018
When asked about Bailly in his press conference today, Mourinho said: ‘There’s no situation. It’s fine, no injury. He’s one of our five central defenders but he’s the only central defender whose country is not in the World Cup.’
It remains to be seen if this could backfire for Mourinho, who should surely be putting the strength of his first XI before the concerns of players at this summer’s World Cup.