Jose Mourinho confirms Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo will start against Chelsea

by Sam Peoples

Jose Mourinho has confirmed Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo are going to start in defence for Manchester United against Chelsea and will continue to do so until their limits due to a defensive injury crisis.

Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are sidelined with injuries until at least halfway through May, meaning Mourinho only has Daley Blind and the young Axel Tuanzebe as his other defensive options.

It means Rojo and Bailly are United’s standout options in defence and Mourinho has no intention of changing them for the time being.

“There is nothing I can do [about the current defensive situation],” he said.

“They [Bailly and Rojo] have to go until the limits. There is no other choice. We don’t have any other central defenders. They have to go. There is no other chance.

“If we arrived in a situation in the Premier League, I hope not, where mathematically the top four is not possible, then it’s an easy decision. Rest them and go with them in the Europa League – if we are still in the competition.

“But, in this moment, we are in this situation where we have two matches in hand and if we win both matches, we are in the top four. We have to fight for every game, so it’s amazing mentality by Eric and by Marcos, but we have to go.”

Going into the season it was obvious that United had a defensive weakness and the injuries now have exacerbated that issue at a crucial time where games are coming thick and fast. It’s fair from ideal, unfortunately we don’t have much of a choice.

To be fair, Bailly and Rojo were both largely excellent against Anderlecht but Chelsea is a different matter altogether and we’ll be tested far more than we were in Belgium. Here’s hoping they can bring their best performances to Old Trafford because with Eden Hazard and Diego Costa leading their line, Chelsea are a real danger going forward.

I’d be surprised if Mourinho didn’t sign a new defender this summer but until then Bailly, Rojo and potentially both Blind and Tuanzebe have to do whatever they can to show their worth.

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