The Ivory Coast national team was the target of José Mourinho’s ire ahead of Monday’s encounter with West Ham. The Manchester United boss had hoped Eric Bailly would be granted permission to play one final game before departing for the Africa Cup of Nations, but the Éléphants’ coach Michel Dussuyer refused to bow to the request. United will now not be without Bailly for around a month’s time.
Mourinho, quoted by ESPNFC, said the following:
“Bailly is leaving — he goes to the national team. He has to be with them on Jan. 2. We asked them for him to be on Jan. 3 but they refused, so he cannot play against West Ham. With these kind of decisions they are controlling every second, so for sure they are going to win the African Cup. I know I lose Bailly for a month so I'm going to have Smalling, Rojo, Jones ... three players for eight matches.”
It’s certainly not an ideal situation, and considering the Ivory Coast still have well over a week before kicking off their AFCON campaign against Uganda, one can understand Mourinho’s frustration. But then again, if we were Dussuyer, we’d probably not want to run the risk either. Onwards and upwards.