Speaking to MUTV after yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Everton, Jose Mourinho expressed his delight at Eric Bailly’s return to first-team action.
The Ivorian centre-back suffered a knee injury against Chelsea at the end of October and wasn’t expected to be back until after the African Cup of Nations this January, but made a surprising return to United’s bench at Goodison Park yesterday.
Mourinho commented on Bailly’s return and said that even though the defender will be unavailable for selection in January, his presence in the team will be very important during the congested festival period later this month.
“We need that,” Mourinho said. “It’s impossible for the same players to play every match and in this moment we are having that because of a lack of available options.
“So to have Eric back is good news, even though it is only for a few weeks because we know he goes to the African Cup of Nations very soon [in January], but at least in this busy period of Christmas we have one more option. That’s important.”
Bailly’s return is a major boost for Manchester United, as the former Villarreal centre-back has been one of the team’s best players since the start of the season.
Even though Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones have been in fantastic form in recent weeks, having Bailly back will be crucial for United’s chances of climbing the table.