MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Jan 1- Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is disappointed after the Ivory Coast refused to allow defender Eric Bailly to delay his departure for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mourinho had hoped that Bailly would be able to delay his departure by a day to enable him to play against West Ham on Monday.
Bailly played the 90 minutes on Saturday as United earned a late 2-1 win against Middlesbrough in the Premier League.
But he is now unavailable for the trip to West Ham following the decision by the Ivory Coast, a decision that left Mourinho extremely unhappy.
“Bailly goes to the national team. He has to be in the national team on the 2nd of January. We asked them for him to be [there] on the 3rd,” said Mourinho. “They refused, so he cannot play against West Ham.”
“I wish Ivory Coast to be champions because with these kind of decisions it’s because they are controlling every second, so for sure they are going to win the African Cup.”
Mourinho said that although losing Bailly is a blow, he is confident that he has enough squad depth to cover Bailly’s absence.
Ivory Coast will face DR Congo, Morocco and Togo in Group C.
“I know that I lose Bailly for a month, and I know I’ll have [Chris] Smalling, [Marcos] Rojo and [Phil] Jones,” he added.
“That’s three players for I think eight matches.
“I decided to play Eric today, and in the end it was good to have him on the pitch, because he’s the fastest one, and to play one against one at the back, he’s the best because he’s very fast,” said Mourinho.