Manchester United picked up yet another vital three points this weekend, with the team going to Turf Moor and beating Burnley in convincing manner. Next up, the derby against Manchester City. Ahead of that game though, we have a bit of an injury crisis.
The only fit centre-back right now is Eric Bailly. The Ivorian partnered Daley Blind at the heart of the defence in the aforementioned game, who is predominantly a midfielder or even a left-back.
After the huge victory, Mourinho was full of praise for Bailly, but also had a message for both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones; whom he is clearly desperate to have back available.
“He (Bailly) is incredible,” Mourinho is quoted as saying by the Daily Express.
If I was Smalling or Jones, I would play Thursday, with anything, I would.”
“I wouldn’t accept one guy to play nine matches in a row because I am injured. I would do a last push.”
“If they have a crazy mentality like I have, they would (play on Thursday). If they are safe thinking and they are surrounded by people with the same mentality they have, it is more time, more cautious. If it was me, nobody would stop me to play.”
The English duo have been sidelined for quite some time now, and the worry was always going to come if we picked up another defensive injury. Bailly has played so much football recently and he must be absolutely dead on his feet – he certainly needs help.
I think Mourinho wouldn’t be asking both Jones and Smalling to try get themselves out on the field unless he believes there is a chance of it happening. He’s not the kind of coach who’ll put his players at risk, but we’re definitely struggling in numbers.
We also have to remember that Timothy Fosu-Mensah is a stunningly talented individual, and he has barely kicked a ball this season. Honestly, I’d love for Mourinho to give him his big opportunity in the Manchester derby but I just cannot see that happening unfortunately.