MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Manchester United will be without Eric Bailly for Monday’s English Premier League clash at West Ham United, while Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick could return to the squad.
Bailly will link up with the Ivory Coast squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations on Monday and manager Jose Mourinho will not have the summer signing for the clash with the Hammers.
In fact, the centre-back could miss up to eight Manchester United matches to start the New Year.
The departure of Bailly will certainly leave Mourinho with fewer options in the heart of the defense but the Portuguese coach believes the likes of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will provide enough cover until Bailly returns in mid-February.
“Bailly is leaving – he goes to the national team,” Mourinho said in his post-match press conference after Manchester United beat Middlesbrough 2-1 on Saturday.
“He has to be with them on 2 January. We asked them for him to be on 3 January but they refused, so he cannot play against West Ham.
“I know that I lose Bailly for a month and I’m going to have Smalling, Rojo and Jones for, I think, eight matches.
“So I decided to play Eric [against Middlesbrough] and it was good to have him on the pitch because, one-on-one at the back, he’s the best because he’s very fast.”
Club captain and Wayne Rooney and vice-captain Michael Carrick both missed the thrilling late win over Boro at Old Trafford on Saturday, but Mourinho said the veteran striker and midfielder have an outside chance of facing West Ham.
“Rooney has a little chance and Michael has a bigger chance than Rooney. Let’s see how he is tomorrow,” Mourinho revealed.
“I’m really happy with Fellaini and the way he played. I’m really happy with his connection with the fans.
“I think they realised how useful he is and how much he is with the team.”
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