Jose Mourinho offers bizarre explanation for Eric Bailly's absence from Man United team
"He's the one I'm not going to help."
Eric Bailly's future at Manchester United could be in doubt. The Ivory Coast defender was dropped from United's matchday squad for the win over Arsenal last Sunday and hasn't made a first-team appearance since the 3-2 win over Manchester City last month.
Bailly has missed 121 days of the current season with injuries. An ankle injury kept him out of action between November and February and the 24-year has missed more games this season (26) than he has played (16).
However, when fit, Bailly has been United's best central defender, so supporters will have wondered where he was for last Sunday's game.
Mourinho offered no explanation for Bailly's omission at the time but clarified his decision on Thursday morning in his press conference ahead of Friday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.
The United boss also added fuel to the fire surrounding speculation over Bailly's future.
Mourinho told reporters that the reason Bailly hasn't been involved in the matchday squad is that, unlike his defensive teammates, he doesn't have a place at the World Cup to play for.
José on Bailly "He's the only defender whose country is not in the World Cup so if I have to make a more emotional choice, he's the one I'm not going to help. Rojo, Lindelof, Jones, Smalling, are wishing to make the squad for the World Cup & Eric is not under that pressure"
— Paul Hirst (@hirstclass) May 3, 2018
Mourinho, or any club manager, does not select his team based on how it will affect an international side, so this seems like a completely bizarre reason to omit Bailly.
On Wednesday, The Mirror reported that Bailly was "worried" about his future at Old Trafford after being "frozen out" by Mourinho.