Jose Mourinho has dismissed reports hinting at his supposed feud with Eric Bailly, and has given a rather strange reason for the Ivorian’s absence from the starting XI in recent weeks.
Bailly is easily the best defender United have at the moment, and so, his omission from the team since the club’s shock defeat to West Brom last month was said to be down to a personal matter between the Ivorian and the manager.
However, Mourinho stated that the reason the defender hasn’t been starting recently is down to the fact that Ivory Coast have not qualified for the World Cup.
Mourinho claims he is helping the other defenders prove themselves in these last few weeks of the season, so as to ensure that they go to the World Cup.
The likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, and Victor Lindelof are all fighting to be a part of the squads for their respective countries, and their club boss is determined to help them out.
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“There’s no situation,” he declared (via Mirror) ahead of the Red Devils’ clash with Brighton on Friday.
“He’s fine, no injury, he is one of our five central defenders and honestly my work is not about World Cups and preparing players for the World Cup or giving chances to players at the World Cup.
“But he’s the only central defender whose country is not in the World Cup, so if I have to make a kind of more emotional effective choice to help my players he’s the one I’m not going to help.
“Rojo, Lindelof, Jones, Smalling, all of them are wishing to make the squad for the World Cup and Eric is not under that pressure.
“I try not to [make those sentimental decisions], I try to be a good team manager and that means being a bit cold, a bit selfish but I’m not as bad as that and I still have space for a little bit of feelings.
“So when I look to the other four central defenders fighting for a position in the World Cup, I’m giving less to Eric.”