Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has disclosed that Eric Bailly’s recent absence from matches is as a result of his Cote d'Ivoire's non-participation at the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
Cote d’Ivoire will not be playing at this year’s tournament in Russia and the gaffer has opted to bolster the World Cup chances of Phil Jones [England], Chris Smalling [England], Marcos Rojo [Argentina] and Victor Lindelof [Sweden].
The 24-year-old has missed United's last four games and did not even appear on the bench against West Bromwich Albion, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Earlier this week, the former Villarreal centre-back missed the club’s end of the season award night which has drawn speculations about his future.
However, Mourinho affirmed that there is no situation with the Ivorian defender and confirmed him fit for Friday’s Premier League game against Brighton and Hove Albion.
“There is no situation. Bailly is fine, no injury,” Mourinho told club website.
“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."