Manchester United were without two of their more established defenders in the week against Manchester City, with Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly both taking knocks against Chelsea.
But, while Bailly isn’t due to return until Christmas, there was better news about Chris Smalling today as The Manchester Evening News reported:
Chris Smalling could return to the Manchester United side against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.
Smalling had captained United in recent weeks but produced a below-par performance in the thrashing at Chelsea last week and missed the EFL Cup tie against City due to injury.
And Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is quoted a saying:
“He’ll be back on Saturday I am sure and he is a very good option as well.”
With Bailly out for months there were fears that Manchester United would have to continue to use two left-footers in the centre of defence in the shape of Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind – neither of whom would be called a specialist centre back.
But, despite a few more loose passes against Manchester City from Blind in particular, the pair looked fairly promising as a duo. With Smalling looking like Bambi on ice at times against Chelsea, he may struggle to regain his place in the side immediately.
With Manchester United facing a lesser side in the comfort of Old Trafford on Saturday, Jose Mourinho may be tempted to give Rojo and Blind another try out to see if they can form a good bond. Because, with United’s best defender out until the back end of the year, the centre back slots are up for grabs again.
Manchester United fans: would you pop Smalling back in the team against Burnley?