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Man Utd news: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer describes Eric Bailly as ‘brave as a lion’

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Eric Bailly returned to the Manchester United team in impressive fashion on Monday night (Picture: Getty Images)

Eric Bailly made his first start of the season for Manchester United in the 2-0 win at Chelsea on Monday night and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was thrilled with the defender’s display.

The 25-year-old has been out of action since the summer with a knee injury and was thrown in at the deep end at Stamford Bridge for this return to first team action.

The Ivorian was excellent, alongside Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw in a back three, keeping a clean sheet and securing just United’s 10th league win of the season.

The centre-back was thrown into the side as Victor Lindelof missed out through illness, and Solskjaer admits he now has a nice selection headache going forward.

‘Absolutely fantastic wasn’t he?’ Solskjaer said of Bailly’s performance in west London.

‘It’s not a bad conundrum because Eric’s a top defender, and it’s his first game since we played Chelsea last year in the league in April.

‘He’s such a top, top defender and his block from Kovacic there was just out of this world defending. He’s quick, he strong, brave, brave as a lion. It’s great to have him back.’

Seen as it was Bailly’s first appearance in the first team since April last year, it is yet to be seen whether he will be available for United’s Europa League trip to Club Bruges on Thursday, or he may be saved for Premier League action at home to Watford on Sunday.

Lindelof is not expected to be out for long, with Solskjaer only saying before the Chelsea game: ‘Victor has fallen ill.’

While Solskjaer was thrilled with the defender’s performance, he wasn’t especially enamoured with the whole team’s display, despite the huge three points in the capital.

United finished with just 39% possession, and were rescued by VAR on a couple of occasions, as Chelsea twice had goals disallowed after the technology was consulted.

‘When you win 2-0 here you’re delighted,’ continued Solskjaer. ‘Absolutely. I’d take that any day of the week. But then again I didn’t think we played particularly well, especially with the ball in the first-half.

‘We were cumbersome, slow, passing wasn’t great, but we got the first goal and then we hung in there.’

MORE: Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts to Mino Raiola’s comments in row over Paul Pogba

MORE: Gary Neville slams Mino Raiola after Paul Pogba’s agent digs out Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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