Extent of Eric Bailly's knee ligament injury to be revealed as player fears lengthy spell on sidelines

The Manchester United defender fears the worst after leaving the pitch early with injury against Chelsea on Sunday, with his manager feeling the same way.

Extent of Eric Bailly's knee ligament injury to be revealed as player fears lengthy spell on sidelines
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Eric Bailly and his representatives fear a lengthy spell on the sidelines for the central defender after he left the pitch during Manchester United's 4-0 defeat at Chelsea with suspected ligament damage.

The Ivorian defender has been in superb form for the Reds this season, settling into Premier League football unexpectedly well after a £30million move to Old Trafford from Spanish side Villarreal.

Bailly fears lengthy recovery from knee injury

His composure on the ball and ability to play vertical, rather than sideways, passes has made him shine out from an often laborious United defence. Not only that, but such ability has aided his defensive partners in Daley Blind and Chris Smalling.

No recovery time has been given on Bailly's injury, and the extent of the injury itself is not yet known. However, reports suggest that like his manager Jose Mourinho, Bailly fears the worst.

Mourinho told reporters after a humiliating defeat at his old stomping ground Stamford Bridge that "he is injured and I am afraid he is badly injured."

"In his knee," Mourinho confirmed, "in the ligament area." The Portuguese boss continued to say that Bailly "feels that it is really bad."

Bailly injury leaves United with few options

Options for Bailly's replacement are remarkably limited for a manager like Mourinho and a club like United. Smalling, who had one of his worst performances in a United shirt on Sunday afternoon, and Blind, who suffered the same fate, would likely be the first choice defensive partnership. Although they fared well last season, they were protected by a monotonous style of football that had United seeing so much possession that the opposition, nor United themselves, had many chances on goal.

Their liabilities as a defensive partnership were well and truly revealed as Chelsea took full advantage of a multitude of defensive errors on Sunday, leaving David de Gea with very little chance.

With Bailly already set to leave United for more than a month for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begin in January, the Reds need a replacement quickly, with issues mounting up for Mourinho.