In the build-up to both the UEFA Champions league and Europa league finals, we’ll provide breaking news so that you, our reader, keeps informed.
It appears the thin line that Eric Bailly has been walking with referees all season, especially in the Europa league has come back to bite an already depleted Red Devil squad. The powerful Ivorian picked up his second red card in this years competition alone in the semi-final against Celta Vigo, leaving him suspended for the finale.
2 – Eric Bailly has now been sent off twice in the Europa League in 2016/17, more than any other player in the competition. Mist.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 11, 2017
He’s been the best defender for Man United this season, but concerns about his discipline and wild streak were shown to be legitimate in a high tempered sequence that led to two yellow cards in less than five minutes.
Bailly has only picked up a total of seven cards on club duty this season with only three in the league, but the timing and colour of this card gives Mourinho a headache he’d rather do without.
There were just 185 seconds between both of Eric Bailly's yellow cards. [opta]
— From The Stands (@FromTStands) February 22, 2017
Jose Mourinho correctly, and perhaps cheekily, took somewhat a shot at his squad’s quality also lamenting the injury situation in the process in fine Jose fashion.
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) May 11, 2017
The inopportune suspension leaves United in an uncomfortable position in a match which takes on massive significance for the medium-term fortunes of the club after three years of mediocrity and poor results in the Champions league. Mourinho will want to go about restoring the stature of United and the final hurdle in getting into the tournament just got a few inches higher.
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) May 13, 2017
From the slim pickings at his disposal, Jose will likely go with one of Chris Smalling or Phil Jones to pair with Daley Blind. Neither of the three have inspired confidence in recent times with the English pair in particular having their commitment questioned multiple times by the manager. Blind doesn’t look quite like the same player as he was under Louis van Gaal and even football intelligence can’t hide his wanting pace that allows decent attackers the extra yard of space to operate.
Why now, Eric?