Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has backed Chris Smalling to fill in for Eric Bailly during his spell out injured after hinting he could miss the rest of the season.
The Red Devils boss was quoted by the Daily Mirror as suggesting Bailly may need surgery on an ankle problem, and wouldn’t rule out that meaning he could miss the rest of the 2017/18 campaign.
Bailly has been in fine form since joining United last season, but his absence has been accompanied by talk of a move for Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane, who could fill that void.
Don Balon reported that Mourinho has held talks over luring Varane to Old Trafford for the last few months, though the Portuguese has now made it clear he backs Smalling, who has been playing well whenever called upon this term.
‘During the whole season, we’ve had problems with central defenders but because the number is four or five, we manage always to have [players available],’ Mourinho is quoted in the Metro.
‘Chris Smalling is playing amazingly well for seven or eight matches in a row maybe, so we are fine.’