Jose Mourinho Pleased With Eric Bailly’s Injury Return For Manchester United

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho is relieved that star Ivorian defender Eric Bailly has returned from injury and is available for selection during a particularly busy Christmas period.

The defender suffered a knee injury in English Premier League action in October, with around two months of recovery needed for him to return to the pitch, and he is now ready to contribute for the reds.

The 22-year-old was an unused substitute in the 1-1 stalemate with Everton on Sunday, and will no doubt feature in the first team soon, having gained fitness in training.

Chris Smalling is out injured, and this has left the team with Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo commanding the central defence.

Bailly has added solidity to an unstable Manchester United backline this season, but his stint on the sidelines was bad news for Mourinho, who has put his faith in the Ivorian youngster. He is now pleased to be able to make use of the player’s defensive ability.

“We need that. It’s impossible for the same players to play every match and, in this moment, we are having that because of a lack of available options,” Mourinho admitted, according to AfricanFootball.

“So to have Eric back is good news, even though it is only for a few weeks because we know he goes to the Africa Cup of Nations very soon. But at least in this busy period of Christmas we have one more option. That’s important,” the Portuguese coach added.

The defender is expected to be an important member of the Elephants squad, which will be defending the title they won in 2015 when they defeated Ghana in a tense penalty shootout victory.

His return to fitness will certainly be a boost for Cote D’Ivoire, as they will need a solid defence to contend with their rivals at the AFCON.

With Yaya Toure now retired, and Gervinho missing the competition through injury, Bailly may need to take a leadership role within the squad in Gabon this January.