Reports today claim Manchester United defender Eric Bailly could be set to face a month on the side-lines after sustaining a knee injury during the clubs 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Sunday. However, considering he will be off in December to team up with his Ivorien team mates for the AFCON which starts early January, it is safe to assuming the Ivorien will be missing for United for as much as four months or even more if Ivory Coast gets to the later stages of the tournament.
The defender was forced off the field in the early stages of the second half after colliding with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Speaking in his post-match news conference Mourinho confirmed that Bailly had suffered a knee injury but admitted that he was unsure of how long exactly Bailly will be out of action for.
“He is injured and I am afraid he is badly injured,” the United manager said. “In his knee, in the ligament area. He feels that it is really bad.”
Bailly has been a revelation at Old Trafford since arriving from Villarreal back in June. His excellent tackling combined with his outstanding reading of the game has made him arguably United’s standout performer so far this season and is a player which Mourinho will undoubtedly miss in the coming weeks ahead.
With Manchester City, Burnley and Fenernbache all to come the Portuguese now has a massive selection dilemma on his hands in the heart of United’s defence. Chris Smalling, Marcus Rojo and Daley Blind are all capable of coming in and doing a job for Mourinho but they do not possess the same quality in which Bailly does and in the Ivorian’s absence United will without question be more vulnerable at the back.
Defence has remained one of the key areas which Mourinho has yet to fully address at Old Trafford. Bailly’s recruitment went some way to fixing matters but there remains a much bigger problem alongside the Ivorian. Individual errors at the back has already cost the club dear in the early part of the season and with Bailly now expected to be missing for up to a month Smalling and co will have to step up to the plate or United will continue to fall further behind in the race for the premier league title.