Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho revealed that Eric Bailly picked up an injury on international duty with the Ivory Coast which excluded him from Saturday’s stalemate with Liverpool.
The Red Devils drew 0-0 versus Liverpool in their first big challenge of the campaign, where they had to cope with the constant threat from the Reds, who were poor with their finishing.
Prior to the Saturday kickoff, Mourinho told Sky Sports: “I don’t think we have many options. Fellaini was injured with the national team, Bailly was injured with the national team and Rashford was injured with the national team.”
While Marcus Rashford did make an appearance off the substitutes’ bench, Bailly was left out of the matchday squad altogether alongside Marouane Fellaini, who suffered a knee sprain playing for Belgium.
In Bailly’s absence, Phil Jones struggled to show a similar dominance on the field, and he caught up with the play on a couple of occasions. His partner Smalling performed his duties dually, although United largely benefited from the absence of Sadio Mane.
The Senegal international can create havoc into any defence on his day, and his absence reduced the attacking threat from the Reds, who could not find a way past David de Gea. The Spaniard made one top-notch reflex save with his left feet, which undoubtedly gained United the draw.