Manchester United’s defensive issues have flared up again – and they now face the prospect of losing one of their most important centre-backs for an extended period of time.
Eric Bailly, already missing since the beginning of November, is now set for a further spell on the sidelines after manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that the ankle injury that his plagued him could require surgery.
Speaking after Man United’s 1-0 victory over Bournemouth on Wednesday night – in which Phil Jones and Chris Smalling played in the centre – Mourinho said he couldn’t go into the specifics of the injury itself, and while it is serious, it is not expected to spell the premature end of his season:
“I think [Bailly’s] injury is serious.
“I don’t know [how long he will be out] but his is an injury that comes from the last time he went with the international team and then we are trying a conservative treatment. But, if the conservative treatment is not resulting, probably he will have a surgery procedure but let’s wait a little bit more.”
“I’m not a doctor, I think the doctor can inform [you how long he will be out for]. There’s nothing to hide, but I don’t want to be speaking about it.”
The injury is a setback not just for Bailly himself, but for Mourinho and Man United. The Red Devils have had to contend with a number of injury problems in defence this season, losing the likes of Jones, Smalling and Marcos Rojo for varying periods of time over the course of the season so far.
Mourinho, though, was trying to stay optimistic:
“During the whole season, we’ve had problems with central defenders but because the number is four or five, we manage always to have [players available] and Chris Smalling is playing amazingly well for seven or eight matches in a row maybe, so we are fine.”