The Ivorian’s last appearance dates back to the 3-2 win over Manchester City and he wasn’t even included in the squad for wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Some have suspected a fallout between the pair, or perhaps another injury to the defender Mourinho is refusing to shed light on.
But the 55-year-old, speaking at a press conference ahead of the clash with Brighton and Hove Albion, made it clear that the Ivorian was fit but rather being sidelined in favour of Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones, whose countries will all be participating in the finals in Russia.
“There’s no situation, is fine, no injury,” he said.
“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 at the World Cup but he’s the only central defender whose country is not in the World Cup so if I have to make a kind of more emotional effective choice to help my players he’s the one I’m not going to help.
“Rojo, Lindelof, Jones, Smalling, all of them are wishing to make the squad for the World Cup and Eric is not under that pressure.
“I try not to (make those sentimental decisions), I try to be a good team manager and that means a bit cold, a bit selfish but I’m 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 am giving less to Eric.”
This is a partly understandable way of going about selection policy at this stage of the campaign. Lindelof, Jones and Rojo will all expect to play for their respective countries in Russia. Gareth Southgate just doesn’t fancy Smalling at all, however.
But the move raises eyebrows because it more or less confirms that Bailly will not play in the FA Cup final, with Mourinho likely to opt for the duo of Jones and Smalling at Wembley once again.
Supporters will desperately hope that this decision to give preference to those going to the World Cup over Bailly doesn’t come back to bite Mourinho and United.