The Red Devils have seen their Ivorian centre-half enjoy a welcome return to form this season, but an injury-prone star is being managed carefully
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Eric Bailly was left out of Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Liverpool as a precaution, with the defender expected to come back into contention for a Premier League clash with Sheffield United on Wednesday.
The Red Devils paired Harry Maguire with Victor Lindelof in a 3-2 victory over arch-rivals at Old Trafford.
That has been a go-to selection for much of Solskjaer’s tenure, but Bailly has returned to fitness and favour in 2020-21.
The 26-year-old has taken in 13 appearances across all competitions this season, with the injury-ravaged Ivorian rediscovering his form amid calls for United to add in his area of the field.
With his record of untimely knocks taken into account, Solskjaer is wary of pushing Bailly too hard and says it was only a minor complaint that prevented him from figuring against Liverpool.
The Red Devils boss told reporters: “Eric will be available [to face Sheffield United].
“It was just a little thing that I didn’t want to risk him. We had cover on the bench and Victor was ready so there was no point on taking a risk with Eric.
“He’s fine, there’s no problem. I can’t say if he’s playing or not, but he’s fit and available for selection for Wednesday.”
Bailly has been earning plenty of plaudits this season, with a forgotten man proving once more that he can be a useful asset for United.
He is, however, wary of getting caught up in any hype and has already stated a desire to stay out of the headlines.
“It’s too early. Too early!” Bailly has told the Red Devils’ website when asked if he is enjoying his best run of form for the club.
“Now you need to make your head calm, train and keep going, getting ready to help the team. That’s my first mission and I hope I don’t get injured again.
“The injuries are very difficult for players when they have the good form. It’s very important to be ready to play every game.
“That [playing regularly] is very important for me, as before, I’d had comments, difficult moments, but now I’ve come back into the team. I am feeling good, train well and I’ll be ready to help the team. I am fit and I want to play.”