Ole and Shaw lead praise for Bailly's display
Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has received praise aplenty for his performance in the 2-2 draw with Atalanta on Tuesday evening.
The Reds rescued a late point following Cristiano Ronaldo’s stoppage-time equaliser at the Gewiss Stadium and while our no.7 has been the subject of plaudits for his contribution at one end, Bailly has been highlighted for his efforts at the other.
The Ivorian was making only his second appearance of the season and first since September, but that didn’t seem to matter as he proved a thorn in Atalanta’s side throughout the 90 minutes.
Perhaps most notably, our no.3 made several trademark athletic interventions including a goal-saving last-ditch block to deny home forward Duvan Zapata in the first half.
"Eric did well,” he told reporters.
“He's not played for us for a little while. Eric wanted to do well, and he made a lot of blocks no-one else but him can do."
The 27-year-old lined up on the right side of a back three to begin the game prior to adjusting just before half-time to partner Harry Maguire in the centre of a back four, as United made the tactical switch following the withdrawal of Raphael Varane due to injury.
Another player who also featured in the defence alongside Bailly was Luke Shaw, who showed his appreciation for his team-mate's showing on the evening, as the Reds took what could prove to be a crucial Champions League point from Bergamo.
“He was unbelievable,” our no.23 told MUTV’s Stewart Gardner in his post-match interview.
“He hasn’t had many chances and, of course, it’s tough, it’s not easy for someone to not play for that long and come into a game especially like this, the way they press, at their home place, a very difficult game. But he was incredible.
“A big well done to him for the way he’s been over the last few months, he’s trained well, trained hard and patiently waited for his chance and I think he took it tonight really well,” Shaw added.
Eric Bailly’s game by numbers vs. Atalanta:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 2, 2021
85% pass accuracy
68 total touches
11 total duels contested
7 total duels won
3 attempted tackles
2 successful tackles
Kept his team in the game time after time. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/UhyYs7V0wK
“I think that’s the level now for him he needs to show day in, day out and, of course, in the next game.”
Below are some of the messages to our no.3 from his fellow Reds…
Diogo Dalot (@diogodalot): WHAT A PLAYER ❤️
Jadon Sancho (@sanchooo10): Top top performance! 🔥
Jesse Lingard (@jesselingard): beast mode ❤️
David De Gea (@d_degeaofficial): big performance
Amad (@amaddiallo19): I’m proud of you ♥️👊🏾
Alex Telles (@alextelles13): My brother! What a player! 🔥🔥🔥
Donny van de Beek (@donnyvdbeek): Class 💪🔥❤️
Juan Mata (@juanmatagarcia): grande 💪👏
Scott McTominay (@scottmctominay): 👏🏼❤️
Anthony Elanga (@anthonyelanga): 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Past Reds also gave recognition to Eric’s showing against Atalanta, including former United defender Wes Brown.
Speaking on MUTV’s post-match show, Brown believes that Bailly could feature again in our next outing against Manchester City on Saturday, as part of a defence which could be without Varane due to the injury the Frenchman was forced off with in the first half of Tuesday's game in northern Italy.
“I think he can [come in for Varane if he is out against City] and I think he will. He wants the opportunity. He's showed today he's still in good shape, he looks sharp. I think we'll be okay there."
Bailly also gave his own rundown of the evening's events when speaking on ‘The Team View’ feature with TeamViewer, via our social media channels.
“Thank you to the Manchester United fans,” he said in the video.
“We couldn’t get the win but it was a very hard game. Now we are focused for the next game, thank you for your support.”
It remains to be seen whether Bailly will feature in the weekend’s Manchester derby, although Solskjaer is expected to give an update on our defensive options for the visit of City, and if the Ivorian could be in contention to start again, during his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Following the Old Trafford fixture, there is another international break.