Eric Bailly.

Why Bailly missed the Sheffield United game

Wednesday 27 January 2021 19:51

Eric Bailly was forced to withdraw from the Manchester United squad for the visit of Sheffield United on Wednesday night.

The Ivory Coast international was due to play against the Blades at Old Trafford but there was an enforced change of plan with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer instead turning to Axel Tuanzebe to partner skipper Harry Maguire at the heart of the defence.

Axel was named in a Premier League starting XI for the first time since October 2019, against Newcastle United, even if he has impressed in the cup competitions.

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Bailly was due to start, as Victor Lindelof's schedule continues to be managed carefully because of an ongoing back problem.

"Eric was down to play this game but he got a bang yesterday and is sore and bruised," Ole told MUTV's Stewart Gardner. "It's unfortunate for him.”

There was a desire to take Lindelof, who played in Sunday's Emirates FA Cup victory over Liverpool, out of the firing line with a trip to Arsenal on the horizon. However, he was named on the bench.

"Yes, of course it is a chance for Axel," added the manager. "He has been patient. He has played some cup games, [in the] Champions League and now he will get his chance as we wanted to rest Victor again.”

Bailly, who last featured against Fulham, will hope to be available for Saturday's game with the Gunners.