Mourinho asked to explain pre-match Man City comments

Tricia Pearson
December 15, 2017

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is confident that Chris Smalling can replace Eric Bailly after admitting the Ivory Coast global is likely to need surgery.

Bailly, who was a revelation in the heart of United's defence last season, has missed his side's last eight games through injury and does not look likely to return before the end of the year.

Liverpool and Arsenal could only draw 0-0 with struggling West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United respectively, allowing Tottenham Hotspur to move into fourth spot behind Chelsea thanks top a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion as Serge Aurier scoring his first goal for the club.

"I think it's serious", Mourinho said in his press conference. "We are trying a conservative treatment, but if that's not working he'll probably have surgery".

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While the match at Old Trafford may not have lived up to its billing on the pitch, the surrounding circumstances made for good entertainment, with City extending their winning run and a much-publicised post-match tunnel bust up, which was supposedly prompted by the visitors' over exuberant celebrations.

The United left-back impressed against the Russians and delivered another encouraging display as the Red Devils rode their luck to secure three points over Bournemouth.

Mourinho says the England defender is playing "amazingly" well and says he's more than capable of replacing Bailly.

"Then is normal, physically he was feeling the cramps were coming, Eddie was not far from me and understood that, so they tried to force a little bit from that side, I had to bring Ashley on to protect the team and Luke".

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