In the aftermath of Manchester United’s FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, fans of the Red Devils took to social media to call for a host of players to be sold this summer.
Of all the members of the squad, two names appeared more than most: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
The haphazard defensive duo, who have been at Old Trafford since 2010 and 2011 respectively, have cost United in big games time and time again down the years.
It was Jones whose error led to Chelsea winning the FA Cup at the weekend.
Caught out of position and outpaced by Eden Hazard, Jones ended up bringing the Belgian winger down inside the penalty area with a last-ditch tackle which earned the Blues a spot-kick and him a yellow card.
United fans were perplexed why Eric Bailly, widely considered the club’s best centre-back, wasn’t starting over Jones or Smalling instead.
The 24-year-old has barely put a foot wrong when he’s played since arriving at Old Trafford from Villarreal in the summer of 2016, but has been largely ostracised by Jose Mourinho in recent weeks.
Nobody was buying Mourinho's excuse for dropping Bailly
Mourinho was asked what the situation was with Bailly earlier this month and the Portuguese coach insisted there was no problem. He made out that he was handing games to those players who were trying to win a place in their respective national teams’ 2018 World Cup squad.
As Ivory Coast will not feature in Russia this summer, Mourinho claimed he was handing starts to other centre-backs instead.
This excuse seemed curious at best and very few United fans were buying it.
And they were right to be suspicious because the real reason behind Bailly’s prolonged omission has finally emerged.
The real reason behind Bailly's absence revealed
Per the Daily Mail, Bailly has been frozen out since returning from ankle surgery because he missed last month’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom through illness and then reported fit for training the next day.
That seems incredibly harsh - and not to mention remarkably petty - from Mourinho, whose man-management skills leave a lot to be desired at times.
United fans appear to be growing increasingly weary of the Portuguese coach’s treatment of certain players and this latest report won’t exactly help matters.
Mourinho has cut a tetchy figure for months now and it’s hard to see the mood inside the Old Trafford dressing room improving unless the manager sorts out his attitude.
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