Manchester United’s Eric Bailly will miss the rest of the Premier League season and the Africa Cup of Nations after the Ivory Coast defender suffered a knee injury against Chelsea, the Red Devils announced on Monday.
Bailly sustained medial ligament damage in a collision with Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic in the second half of Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
The 25-year-old was making his first Premier League start since February 3 but now he will be sidelined for the Africa Cup of Nations, which starts on June 21 in Egypt.
Ivory Coast were drawn in a group featuring Morocco, South Africa and Namibia.
“We can confirm that Manchester United defender Eric Bailly suffered a medial ligament injury on his right knee during Sunday’s Premier League match against Chelsea at Old Trafford,” a United statement read.
“The problem means that the Ivory Coast international will not play for the Reds again this season, missing the remaining top-flight matches against Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City.
“Furthermore, Bailly is also now unable to play in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament.”
Bailly has made 18 appearances for his club this season and his absence is another blow for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Phil Jones and Chris Smalling both missed the Chelsea match due to fitness concerns, meaning Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo could be United’s only fit central defenders for this weekend’s trip to Huddersfield.
Solskjaer’s side are three points adrift of the Premier League’s top four with just two games left as they battle to qualify for the Champions League.