Eric Bailly out of Manchester United squad due to injury but Henrikh Mkhitaryan dropped
By James Dale
Last Updated: 18/11/17 6:20pm
Eric Bailly's absence from Manchester United's squad to face Newcastle was down to injury, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan was dropped.
Victor Lindelof replaced Bailly to make his full Premier League debut alongside Chris Smalling in central defence, with Phil Jones already out having aggravated a thigh injury in England's goalless friendly against Germany last week.
Jose Mourinho had questioned why Jones had been given six injections of anaesthetic in order to make England's team, and when asked to explain Bailly's absence the United manager revealed the defender was also now "injured".
Mkhitaryan, though, was not included in the matchday squad due to "tactical reasons", said Mourinho, despite having started 10 of United's 11 Premier League fixtures prior to the game against Newcastle.
Sky Sports football expert Jamie Carragher had criticised Mkhitaryan's performance in the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea before the international break, suggesting United had effectively been playing "with 10 men", while Gary Neville said Mourinho's midfield had been "ambushed".
The decision to leave out Mkhitaryan comes as midfielder Paul Pogba made an immediate return to Mourinho's starting line-up following a two-month spell out with a hamstring injury.
Mourinho dropped Mkhitaryan to the bench against Huddersfield last month, only to bring him on as a half-time substitute with United trailing 2-0.
After the 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield, Mkhitaryan was restored to the starting line-up for their following Premier League game, a 1-0 win over Tottenham.
Mourinho welcomed back Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw to his matchday squad, with all three featuring among the substitutes.