Jose Mourinho has cropped Daley Blind out of his upcoming plans at Manchester United, claiming he intends to use Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly as his three main centre backs for this season.
Blind hasn’t featured at centre-back in the Premier League since Man United’s 0-0 draw with Burnley back in October, with his last league appearance dating back to almost a month ago.
Mourinho, with both Bailly and Chris Smalling injured, has deployed the centre-back pairing of Rojo and Jones for the last five league matches.
The 53-year-old, when reflecting on his options at centre-back, failed to entertain the possibility of using Blind in that position this season.
“They (Jones and Rojo) are playing more than ever, better than ever and now we have a third central defender (Bailly) to rotate,” said Mourinho,” he said.
“We gave a rest to Jones in the Ukraine, now Jones plays against Tottenham free of injuries or tiredness. Now we have with Bailly a third central defender until the end of the year, hopefully we can manage with those three in those positions.”
It was thought that, following wins over Leicester City, AFC Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull City during the opening weeks of the season that Blind and Bailly would serve as Mourinho’s first choice centre-back pairing. The pair worked together in perfect tandem, with the Ivorian complimenting Blind’s composure with raw power.
However, recent weeks have seen Mourinho place a new emphasis on the unlikely – and yet hugely promising – coupling of Rojo and Jones. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise: the 53-year-old, after all, has always preferred the presence of two no-nonsense, physically imposing centre-backs, and Blind – for all his unquestionable brilliance – simply doesn’t fit the bill.