Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly insists that no player is assured of a regular starting spot under Jose Mourinho. The Ivory Coast international had been paired alongside Phil Jones for the first six games of the Premier League campaign but was benched for last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace with what the manager termed as ‘fatigue’.
Speaking on United Review h/t Sky Sports, the 24-year-old admits that there is a strong competition for places and he does not want to take his first-team place for granted. Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof have largely featured in the Cup and Champions League games this term, but Bailly feels there is a good relationship between the central defenders.
Bailly said: “It’s very important for us, it’s important for the team, it’s important for the manager, and when it’s like that, there is also competition amongst ourselves, so we always have to improve because I don’t think anyone is automatically entitled to their position in that team.
“There’s a good relationship between Phil and me, and with the other two defenders, Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling, even though we’ve not had the chance to play together yet.”
Jones has recently returned from the England training camp with an injury, but Mourinho will hope to have him back in action for the mouthwatering clash against Liverpool after the international break.
Should this not be the case, Smalling looks the most likely option to partner Bailly at Anfield, where United are unbeaten in their previous three league meetings.