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Thursday 23 February 2017

Jose's blast after Bailly blow

Ivory Coast refuse Reds' call to play defender in crunch Hammers visit

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has criticised Ivory Coast’s decision not to allow Eric Bailly to figure in this evening’s clash with West Ham before he joins up with his country for the African Nations Cup tournament in Gabon
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has criticised Ivory Coast’s decision not to allow Eric Bailly to figure in this evening’s clash with West Ham before he joins up with his country for the African Nations Cup tournament in Gabon

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is frustrated with the Ivory Coast after they refused to delay Eric Bailly's African Nations Cup departure by 24 hours.

Bailly returned to the starting XI in Saturday's 2-1 win over Middlesbrough and Mourinho was hoping he would be available to take on West Ham this evening as well.

That could not happen without the consent of his national side, who are preparing for the tournament in Gabon, and coach Michel Dussuyer was not willing to take the risk.

United should not be harmed in the short term, with Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo ready to restore their successful partnership after being rested for the New Year's Eve victory and Chris Smalling also fit, but Mourinho is concerned about a lack of numbers at the back.

Fitness

"Bailly is leaving - he goes to the national team," said a clearly disgruntled Mourinho.

"He has to be with them on 2 January. We asked them for him to be on 3 January but they refused, so he cannot play against West Ham.

"With these kind of decisions they are controlling every second, so for sure they are going to win the African Cup.

"I know I lose Bailly for a month so I'm going to have Smalling, Rojo, Jones...three players for eight matches."

The 22-year-old Bailly has had a hit and miss start to his United career, starting the season strongly before a dip in form and fitness.

He is still delighted to be part of the Red Devils set-up and lavished praise on Mourinho, who enters 2017 on the back of six successive wins.

"He is a great manager, the best in the world," Bailly said.

"It is a pleasure to work and learn with him. I hope it continues like this and that I stay at United for a long time.

"I'm truly happy with my team and my team-mates. Little by little, and with more training under this manager, I hope to improve."

Mourinho was without Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick against Boro and the short turnaround time between matches could mean another game on the sidelines for the Englishmen.

Rooney has been given "a little chance" of recovering from his thigh problem, with Carrick rated slightly more likely following a bout of illness.

Success

Meanwhile, Mourinho has warned Anthony Martial to listen to him rather than his agent if he wants to be a success at Old Trafford.

The Frenchman has been a peripheral figure since Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford and has been linked in recent weeks with a temporary move away to rediscover his best form.

But the 21-year-old was in fine fettle during the dramatic 2-1 win over Middlesbrough, turning in a man of the match performance capped by United's 85th-minute equaliser.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was another player who struggled for game time in the early part of Mourinho's reign but the Armenian has flourished of late and the manager puts that down to attitude. "Anthony has to listen to me and not listen to his agent," he said. "He has to listen to me in training every day, every feedback I give to try and improve players.

"With the Mkhitaryan process, I was having almost every day his agent calling me and saying Mkhitaryan with you will be a better player.

"With Martial every day I read the newspaper and Martial is going to Sevilla, Martial goes on loan, Martial is not happy.

"Martial has to listen to me."

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