Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho voiced his frustration with Ivory Coast after they refused to delay Eric Bailly’s Africa Cup of Nations departure by 24 hours.
Bailly featured in United’s starting XI in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Middlesbrough and Mourinho was hoping the defender would be available to take on West Ham on Monday as well.
But Mourinho told the club’s website Ivory Coast’s coach Michel Dussuyer was not willing to take the risk as they prepare to defend their African title.
“Bailly is leaving – he goes to the national team,” said Mourinho.
“He has to be with them on 2 January. We asked them for him to be on 3 January but they refused, so he cannot play against West Ham.
“With these kind of decisions they are controlling every second, so for sure they are going to win the African Cup,” said Mourinho.
But the United manager says the club should not be harmed in the short-term.
“I know I lose Bailly for a month so I’m going to have Smalling, Rojo, Jones… Three players for eight matches.”
Bailly, 22, has had a mixed start to his United career, starting the season strongly before suffering a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Ghana coach Avram Grant named a provisional 26-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon on Monday, with Leicester City’s Jeff Schlupp a surprise omission.
Schlupp’s Leicester team-mate Daniel Amartey was included as was another English Premier League player, Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew of West Ham.
Aston Villa’s Jordan Ayew – Andre’s brother – was one of three English Championship players named, alongside Christian Atsu of Newcastle and Andy Diadom of Barnsley.
There was no place for Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah who was struggling to make the cut following a series of knee injuries.
The Black Stars will now go to the United Arab Emirates for a training camp from where Grant will reveal his final squad of 23 by the 4 January deadline.
The tournament kicks off in Gabon on 14 January.
Ghana will be based in Port-Gentil where they will face Mali, Egypt and Uganda in Group D.
The Black Stars’ first match will be against Uganda on 17 January.
Goalkeepers: Razak Braimah (Cordoba, Spain), Adam Kwarasey (Rosenborg, Norway), Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars, Ghana)
Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Andy Yiadom(Barnsley, England), Baba Rahman (Schalke, Germany), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), John Boye (Sivasspor,Turkey), Jonathan Mensah (Anzhi, Russia), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England), Edwin Gyimah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)
Midfielders: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy), Afriyie Acquah (Torino, Italy), Mubarak Wakaso (Panathinaikos, Greece), Christian Atsu (Newcastle, England), Ebenezer Ofori (AIK Stockholm, Sweden), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Samuel Tetteh (Leifering, Austria), Joseph Larweh Attamah (Ba?ak?ehir, Turkey)
Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ahli, UAE) Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa, England), Abdul-Majeed Waris (Lorient, France), Andre Ayew (West Ham, England), Ebenezer Assifuah (Sion, Switzerland), Bernard Tekpetey (Schalke, Germany), Rahpael Dwamena (Austria Lustenau, Austria) — BBC