Jose Mourinho is delighted to have Eric Bailly available for selection again and believes his return is important for Manchester United ahead of a busy festive period.
Bailly has been out of action since Man United’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea and we’ve desperately missed his presence in defence. Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have both stepped but neither have the same presence as the powerful Ivorian defender.
Man United conceding late goals has lost six points in the Premier League already this year but hopefully Bailly’s return can bring some much needed dominance back to the heart of our defence.
“Important,” Mourinho said of Bailly’s return.
“I think Jones and Marcos they did five great matches for us, five in a row playing so well and so solid but it’s too much just for them too.
“So to have Eric back for just a couple of weeks and then he goes to AFCON [African Cup of Nations], but in this busy Christmas period it allows us to rotate a little bit is a good protection for us.”
It’s purely hypothetical but I don’t think we’d have been so limp in defence without Bailly. Will Giroud have had a free run at the ball when he scored Arsenal’s late equaliser? Would Fellaini have been needed away at Everton? Who knows but one thing I do know – we’re a tougher team to score against with Bailly back in the team.
The caveat of course is that an early return means Bailly will be completely fit to play in the African Cup of Nations but it is certainly going to be a boost to have him back for a busy and crucial December fixture pile-up.
Welcome back Eric.