Mourinho: New defender not needed

Jose Mourinho has confirmed he will not sign a new centre-back in January despite the departure of Eric Bailly to the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Manchester United manager wanted to sign Sweden international Victor Lindelof from Benfica, according to Sky sources. Initial talks had been held between the clubs but United’s interest has cooled, and Mourinho confirmed on Friday that he is happy with his centre-back options.

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Asked ahead of their FA Cup third-round clash with Reading whether he will sign another centre-back in the January window, Mourinho said: “No, I wait for Bailly.

“I hope the three can control the situation in those eight matches [that Bailly will miss at the Africa Cup of Nations].

“I will try to rest one in every game. On Saturday [against Reading] I will rest one, against Hull [in Tuesday’s EFL Cup semi-final first leg] another.

“We’ll try to make a rotation between these three. We still have Daley Blind as the fourth, in case we need him to play there. We have Michael Carrick. So let’s try.”

United are sixth in the Premier League standings but are hot on the heels of the Champions League places after a good run of form over Christmas. They also remain in the Europa League and have a two-legged EFL Cup semi-final against Hull but Mourinho, who has told Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay while can leave Old Trafford in the January transfer window, is happy with the size of his squad.

He said: “I have 24 players. I cannot have 25 or 30. We have the right number of players. Is every player the same? No, let’s be realistic. The squad is good, but not every player is the same.”

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