Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says that Eric Bailly’s omission from the squad for yesterday’s game against Crystal Palace was nothing more than a tactical decision.
The Ivorian international has not featured for the Red Devils since being substituted against Newcastle last month and hasn’t even been selected on the bench for recent Premier League games.
Mourinho has made Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof his first-choice centre-back pairing, and he suggests Smalling’s height has given him the edge over Bailly:
“Bailly has physical qualities, he is very fast [but] he is not very tall. We thought that Chris Smalling would give some balance in relation to the qualities. Chris is very good in the air. He is tall and dominant in the air.”
In terms of being selected as a substitute, the United boss explained that now he has five fit centre-halves, it means he has to rotate them in order to keep them motivated:
“We have Phil, [Marcos] Rojo and Eric and I try to make them motivated. To make them motivated – I cannot select the same all the time.”
While Bailly hasn’t been in a Premier League squad since the 2-2 draw against Chelsea, he was on the bench for the doubleheader against Juventus in the Champions League. He is expected to return again when United face Young Boys on Tuesday night.