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Eric Bailly steps off the bus.

Mourinho: Teams need players like Eric Bailly

Jose Mourinho has spoken of his respect and appreciation for Eric Bailly's willingness to play against Liverpool, despite the Ivorian's struggle with an injury problem.

Bailly had not even been named among the substitutes when the team news broke 75 minutes prior to kick-off at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

But when Chris Smalling dropped out of the warm-up as a precaution, just minutes before the match was due to start, Bailly pushed himself forward as a replacement.

United lose to Liverpool in Michigan article

The Reds completed another solid workout but suffered a defeat in front of over 101,000 fans in Ann Arbor.

“Bailly was not going to play,”
explained Mourinho in the post-match press conference.
“But when he saw that Smalling in the warm-up was leaving, he decided by himself he did not want another kid on the pitch. It is not fair to Alexis, to Mata, to Herrera, and the guys that are there.”


United are without a number of first-team regulars, due to injury and the delayed returns of several players that competed in the World Cup in Russia. Mourinho explained that their absence means a heavier workload has fallen on the senior players that are part of Tour 2018.

“We are just trying to play these matches in the best way we can,”
said the boss after the Liverpool defeat.
“The boys did very well until the gasoline said goodbye.”
Quizzed further on Bailly's quality and role this season, Mourinho continued to lavish praise on the centre-back.

“He is a team boy, he is a great boy,”
Jose said.
“He is an honest man, always ready to give everything for the team. That is why we have him, why we still have him and why he is going to stay with us because football teams need people like him, like Herrera; this kind of people where the club is more important than anything else.”

De Gea feels rechargedVideo

Smalling's removal from the starting XI was later explained as a precautionary measure. 

With Nemanja Matic and Antonio Valencia already returning home due to injury issues, and two friendlies, against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, following hot on the heels of the Liverpool game, the boss will be keen to ensure as many first-team players remain injury free.

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