Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has claimed that Eric Bailly's absence from the team in recent weeks is partly due to the fact that the centre-back will not be in action at this summer's World Cup.
Bailly has not been involved in the Premier League for United since April 7, and the defender has not even made the squad for two of the team's last three league fixtures.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the 24-year-old was concerned over his long-term future at Old Trafford, but Mourinho has insisted that "there's no situation" with the centre-back.
Indeed, the Red Devils manager hinted that Ivory Coast's absence from the 2018 World Cup has altered his mindset when it comes to selecting his two central defenders.
"There's no situation, he is fine, no injury. He is one of our five central defenders and honestly my work is not about World Cups and preparing players for the World Cup or giving chances to players at the World Cup but he's the only central defender whose country is not in the World Cup so if I have to make a kind of more emotional effective choice to help my players he's the one I'm not going to help," Mourinho told reporters.
"[Marcos] Rojo, [Victor] Lindelof, [Phil] Jones, [Chris] Smalling, all of them are wishing to make the squad for the World Cup and Eric is not under that pressure. I try not to (make those sentimental decisions), I try to be a good team manager and that means a bit cold, a bit selfish but I'm not as bad as that.
"I still have space for a little bit of feelings so when I look to the other four central defenders fighting for a position in the World Cup I am giving less to Eric."
United are back in Premier League action away to Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday night.