Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was coy when asked whether or not Eric Bailly could miss the rest of the season.

The Ivory Coast international has made eight starts in the Premier League this season. The Red Devils conceded only three goals when he has featured and suffered only one defeat, which came against Chelsea.

Bailly suffered a first injury setback following the international break in October. He returned to the pitch in United's 1-0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur the same month and further went on to make two more appearances.

After the last international break in November, the former Villarreal star has not featured for the 20-time English champions. The centre-back has missed the last eight games through an ankle problem.

Mourinho expressed his concern over the African defender's injury setback and labeled it as a "serious" injury. When asked if Bailly could be out for the rest of the season, Mourinho said, "I don't want to be so pessimistic. I want to leave it with a doctor."

The former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager refused to provide specifics of the injury.

"I'm not a doctor, I think the doctor can inform [you]. There's nothing to hide, but I don't want to be speaking about it," he added.

Bailly has been a revelation since arriving at Old Trafford from Villarreal in the summer of 2016. He was instrumental for Mourinho's side as they went on win the EFL Cup and the Europa League.

The Portuguese tactician has the services of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind. In addition to this, Axel Tuanzebe can also be fielded in the heart of the back four.

Smalling has been a regular at the heart of the back four, while Lindelof and Jones have impressed whenever they have been given opportunities. Mourinho stressed that having more options in the central defending position makes his job easier.

"Today, I played [Chris] Smalling and [Phil] Jones and we had [Victor] Lindelof and [Daley] Blind on the bench. Marcos Rojo was injured [against Manchester City] but nothing really big," the Red Devils manager stressed.

"During the whole season, we've had problems with central defenders but because the number is four or five, we manage always to have [players available] and Chris Smalling is playing amazingly well for seven or eight matches in a row maybe, so we are fine."

Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly is sidelined with a "serious" Getty