Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will return before the end of the year, says Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has said that Eric Bailly will return before the end of the year.

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will return before the end of the year, says Jose Mourinho
Above: Eric Bailly in action during Manchester United's 4-0 defeat to Chelsea | Photo: Getty Images/Catherine Ivill/AMA

Manchester United have been handed a massive injury boost with manager Jose Mourinho confirming, after their 4-0 win over Feyenoord, that defender Eric Bailly will return before the end of the year. 

Earlier than expected 

Bailly has been a great addition at Old Trafford since his summer switch from La Liga side Villarreal, and is the preferred central defensive partner alongside Chris Smalling. 

However, the 22-year-old has been absent from the side since October's 4-0 defeat to Chelsea, injuring his knee ligaments at Stamford Bridge. United have suffered injuries at the back, with Smalling, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw all suffering so far in this campaign. The Ivorian was expected to be out until at least February, but Mourinho confirmed that he will return before the start of 2017. 

"He is working hard and will be back before the end of the year, for sure," Mourinho confirmed to the Manchester Evening News. "But on 3 January he goes away for a month [to play in the African Cup of Nations]."

 

Stating his claim 

It was a convincing performance from the Red Devils on Thursday night, with goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and a own goal from Brad Jones gave them the win. One of the star performers was Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who was looking to prove to a point to his manager.

Mourinho leaving him out for the majority of the season so far, and the Armenian shared his delight at starting the game, and said that he is determined to continue to work hard to get into the starting XI. 

"It was a pleasure to play again and to start the game," Mkhitaryan said. "I've tried to do my best and I think it's a very good result for the team."

"It was very difficult to watch the team playing from the side," he admitted. "But you have to have passion and to work hard and try to take your next chance."

He concluded: "I hope [this is a new start], let's see."

Manchester United will take on West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday, November 27 with kick-off at 4:30pm BST.