Jose Mourinho has explained why he has been using the other centre-back options available to him, rather than Eric Bailly, in recent weeks.
The 24-year-old has not featured in United’s last four games since the 3-2 derby win at Manchester City on 7 April.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Reds’ Premier League trip to Brighton on Friday night, the boss was asked whether Bailly is fit. He spoke at length why he has preferred the four other central defenders at his disposal to the Ivorian defender, with the World Cup finals in Russia this summer looming large.
“Bailly is fine, no injury,” Mourinho told reporters.
“He is one of our five central defenders and honestly, my work is not about World Cups and preparing players for the World Cup or giving chances to players to do the World Cup, but he's the only central defender whose country's not in the World Cup.
“So if I have to make a kind of more emotional, effective choice to try to help my players, he's the one I am not going to help until the end of the season. Because, of course, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, all of them are wishing to make the squad for the World Cup and Eric is not under that pressure.”
“I try to be a good team manager and that means, be cold, be selfish, but I am not as bad as that and I still have space for a little bit of feelings, so when I look to the other four central defenders fighting for a position in the World Cup, I'm giving less [time] to Eric.”