Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has heaped praise on the nasty aspect that Eric Bailly brings to his game.
The Ivorian, after nearly two months on the sidelines, made his return during Man United’s 2-0 win over Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League.
United fans were notably impressed with the ruthless, powerful dynamic brought by the 22-year-old, who never gave Zorya’s front-line a moment’s peace.
Scholes, speaking on BT Sport after the game, was full of praise for Bailly’s approach in Odessa.
“He’s a bit frustrated,” he said.
“I think 10 minutes before he got smashed by somebody, he did a bad tackle before that to get the yellow card and he’s just after a little bit of revenge here, he probably has to be a little bit cuter.
“I quite like a bit of nastiness, to be honest, getting somebody back, right in front of the referee.”
In Bailly’s absence, Jose Mourinho‘s men crucially shipped late goals against Arsenal and Everton. These were games that saw United – with a centre-back pairing of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones – defend diligently, but there always remained a speck of doubt, of uncertainty as the minutes ticked by. Without Bailly there was, it seemed, a lack of ruthlessness – a vital absence of raw brutality that can be so vital in pressurised moments.
This is, above anything, what Bailly brings. Rojo and Jones defend reliably, but Bailly brings pain. He won’t just tackle you; he will happily send you to the floor, bruised and dazed, his expression still emotionless as you lie on the floor.
Needless to say, such an approach is invaluable when it comes to maintaining solidity at the back.