Eric Bailly delivered a sensational performance on return from injury during Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The Ivorian, following a knee ligament injury sustained against Chelsea in October, was set to be sidelined until after the African Cup of nations, but returned in time for Man United’s visit to Odessa.
What followed was, as his numbers show, an invariably robust, powerful performance from Bailly: 3 interceptions, 5 tackles, 71 passes, 93% pass accuracy.
Bailly, even after nearly two months out, never displayed any signs of caution against Zorya. This was a performance packed with ruthlessness and furious energy, almost as if the Ivorian was trying to make up for the minutes missed over the last nine games with 90 minutes of pure, unadulterated fury.
It has to be noted that, while United impressed, their opponents were dramatically substandard. This is a side without a win in six games, with their top scorer managing just five goals, and bigger challenges will be waiting around the corner for Jose Mourinho’s men.
Even so, playing on a bobbly, potentially hazardous pitch in sub-zero temperatures, Bailly hardly gave Zorya’s back four an iota of hope, and United fans will be delighted to see him return ahead of a busy few weeks in the Premier League.