Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Eric Bailly and Phil Jones will return to the Manchester United starting XI for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Everton after the pair sat out of the 3-0 win over FC Basel.
Bailly was serving the last of his three game suspension following his scuffle with John Guidetti back in May, while Jones has now served the final game of his two match ban for using abusive language towards a UEFA doping official soon after the Europa League final. The pair came under scrutiny from supporters after both making individual errors that culminated in goals during United’s 2-2 draw with Stoke over the weekend and will need to offer more assurance on Sunday as Wayne Rooney makes a return to Old Trafford.
Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling stepped in for the first time since enduring a difficult night against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid against the Swiss champions and, aside from the occasional stray ball that put them in trouble, looked largely unruffled and in control, reducing the visitors to just one meaningful shot on target.
But Mourinho, speaking after the game, has confirmed that Bailly and Jones will be restored to the starting XI on Sunday afternoon.
“They [Smalling and Lindelof] train really hard,” he said. “They train together always in the same team because I knew they had to play this match together.”
“If you want to anticipate the next weekend I probably play Bailly and Jones because today they didn’t play, because they are fresh, because it makes sense for them to play again, but then two days after we have a League Cup match, so Victor and Smalling again.
“So we need this and in the Premier League and the Champions League I have to choose the players in relation to the quality. When I know I’m going to face one of these defensive walls Victor is probably the best to come with the ball, to attack spaces in midfield, to fight people in between the lines.
“So what I want is to have the players available and sometimes they are not playing, but for me as a manager it’s important.”