Bailly not out of favour: Mourinho

LONDON • Jose Mourinho revealed that Eric Bailly has been left out of his Manchester United sides because he is not World Cup-bound.

The defender has not featured in three of the last six matchday squads and has played in just one game since March 31.

The Ivory Coast international will not be going to Russia as his country failed to qualify, but Argentina's Marcos Rojo, England pair Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, and Sweden's Victor Lindelof all have varying hopes of making the tournament. And Mourinho has indicated he is leaving Bailly out to give other defenders a chance of making their countries' World Cup squads.

"There's no situation," the United manager told a press conference yesterday ahead of his side's Premier League clash at Brighton today. "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...

"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."

He added that defenders Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind remain part of his plans despite a lack of chances this season, as long as they want to remain at the club.

United will be without striker Romelu Lukaku today as their top scorer is recovering from the ankle injury that forced him off during last Sunday's 2-1 victory over Arsenal. However, United, who are looking to cement second place, are hopeful he will recover in time to face Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 19.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2018, with the headline 'Bailly not out of favour: Mourinho'. Print Edition | Subscribe