Eric Bailly could end his Manchester United exile against Young Boys in the Champions League on Tuesday but will not be in the Premier League squad against Crystal Palace.
Bailly became Mourinho’s first United signing in a £30million move from Villarreal in 2016 but has not played since he was substituted after 19 minutes with Newcastle 2-0 up on October 6. The 24-year-old has been selected as a substitute in three of United’s last six matches but manager Jose Mourinho has rotated United’s substitute centre half to make Bailly, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo feel involved.
Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof have started United’s last six fixtures and are expected to line up together again for the visit of Palace. Rojo, 28, is the only first-team squad member yet to make a single appearance this term and has played more times for Argentina than United since he signed an improved contract in March. Jones, 26, has started twice and last figured in the Carabao Cup penalty shootout tie with Derby on September 25, when his spotkick conceded defeat.
Jones made the bench in United’s last game at Manchester City but Rojo could be recalled to the squad against Palace on Saturday, despite Mourinho acknowledging he is ‘injured a lot of the time’.
“The situation is that we have five central defenders,” Mourinho explained. “And it’s a little bit difficult to find the best combination, not just related to their qualities but also related with the injury situation.
“It’s a bit difficult to really go for a couple of players that they are a little bit more open to injures and then they play one or two matches. And you want continuity and a three-match-in-a-row and you have to break the continuity and start everything again.