Eric Bailly was hauled off after 19 minutes of Manchester United’s win over Newcastle.
United were 2-0 down at the time and Bailly was the fall guy, despite Ashley Young being just as culpable for Newcastle’s goals.
Rio Ferdinand told BT Sport that he believes there is ‘no way back’ for Bailly after his early substitution.
Mourinho’s decision looked harsh. United though went on to win the game 3-2, so it’s hard to argue it was a bad call, just humiliating for the centre-back.
This is a moment where the defender needs the support of his manager.
It’s time for Mourinho to remember what he said about Bailly when he signed him in the summer of 2016, making him his first United signing at £30.4 million.
Mourinho’s first comments on Eric Bailly
He was quoted by The Telegraph: “Eric is a young central defender with great natural talent. He has progressed well to date and has the potential to become one of the best around.
“We look forward to working with him to help nurture that raw talent and fulfil his potential. Eric is at the right club to continue his development.”
This is a moment where Mourinho must show his coaching and man management skills to ‘help nurture’ Bailly’s development, as he put it.
His decision at Old Trafford on Saturday was being cruel to be kind, taking him out of the firing line.
Mourinho should not cut him adrift by dropping him for weeks and looking to sell him in January.
Instead he must back the conviction he had to sign Bailly and stick by the Ivorian.
Many believe he is still United’s best defender when he is on his game. This could be a turning point for him, for the better.