Manchester United faced Crystal Palace on Saturday at home, and Eric Bailly, the backbone of their defense, was seen being benched due to fatigue, as confirmed by boss Jose Mourinho.
The Ivory Coast international has been an integral part of United’s defense for the past couple of seasons. However, he had to settle for being a mere spectator at Old Trafford, after having played three games in the span of six days.
Bailly started for the Red Devils in all of their previous six Premier League fixtures, as well as their last Champions League outing against CSKA Moscow, which they won 4-1.
Following his rigorous involvement in his side’s tight schedule, the defender had to sit out their recent clash against Palace, who are already facing an early season crisis.
“The thought is I trust everyone, for Smalling is the second game in three days,” the former Real Madrid boss told Sky Sports. “For Bailly it would be the third game in six [days].”
Consequently, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were seen partnering up against Roy Hodgson’s side. And though the Mancunians breezed over the match with a 4-0 win, United’s defense looked shaky and unstable at times, as the latter seemed to make minor mistakes along the way.
Regardless, Mourinho’s side are flying high with their new-found passion, and are on a goal scoring spree. However, they cannot seem to afford risking Bailly’s absence for too long due to excess workload, as maintaining a stable defensive mechanism is as important as scoring goals, which the Red Devils currently aren’t short of.
Written by Ashish Sreejith
Have had two addictions in life- playing football and watching football. Usually described as introverted but not when it comes to speaking and writing about the beautiful game of football.