Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s woes deepen as Eric Bailly suffers YET ANOTHER injury as he hobbles off clutching his hamstring during Ivory Coast’s win over Belgium to leave Manchester United boss with defensive headache

  • Eric Bailly was forced off with an injury as Ivory Coast beat Belgium in a friendly 
  • The 26-year-old has struggled for continuous game time at United due to knocks 
  • Central defender had started United’s last match, but looks set for a spell out

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s woes at Manchester United have deepened after watching defender Eric Bailly hobble off while on international duty with the Ivory Coast.

The central defender had to be substituted in the 70th minute and left the field clutching at his hamstring during the friendly with Belgium. 

It is yet another blow for United’s Norweigian boss, who now has a defensive crisis to contend with following the shock 6-1 defeat by Tottenham at Old Trafford last Sunday. 

Eric Bailly was forced off with an injury during Ivory Coast's friendly victory against Belgium

Eric Bailly was forced off with an injury during Ivory Coast’s friendly victory against Belgium 

It is a blow for Bailly (right), who has been plagued by knee and ankle injuries while at United

It is a blow for Bailly (right), who has been plagued by knee and ankle injuries while at United

Eric Bailly had started that game ahead of Victor Lindelof, as Solskjaer persisted with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, and the Swede is available to slot back in after the international break, should Bailly’s injury be confirmed to be as serious as first feared. 

However, following the sale of Chris Smalling to Roma, Solskjaer has been left short of trusted options as back-up for Lindelof and captain Harry Maguire.

Both Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo were left out of United’s Champions League squad this week, indicating that they are not viable options in the opinion of their manager. 

The news leaves Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a defensive crisis on his hands

The news leaves Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a defensive crisis on his hands

Scott McTominay can fill in at centre-back, having done so on the right-hand side of a back three for Scotland during their penalty-shootout victory over Israel in their Euro 2020 play-off semi-final. However, this is far from the Scot’s natural position. 

Another option is the returning Axel Tuanzebe, who is back in training following a long spell out himself through injury. The 22-year-old has not pulled on a United shirt since their Carabao Cup quarter-final with Colchester United last December. 

The injury caps off a tough week for Bailly on a personal level, too, following his display against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs.

Bailly had started the game against Tottenham as part of a back four, but it did not go to plan

Bailly had started the game against Tottenham as part of a back four, but it did not go to plan

While the entire United squad came in for criticism, the 26-year-old was singled out by an irate Patrice Evra on Sky Sports for his first-half performance. 

The former defender said: ‘Bailly gets the chance to play instead of Lindelof and he made that mistake, so don’t cry after when you don’t play. It’s so naive.’

Bailly has had his fair share of injury problems since joining United from Villarreal in 2016. 

Serious knee and ankle problems have limited him to just 56 league appearances in four years with the club, although the player was given limited playing time last season, despite having returned from injury in January for the Under 23s. 

United return to action a week on Saturday when they travel to the North East to face Newcastle United in what is currently a 3pm kick off.  

The departure of Chris Smalling to Roma has left Solskjaer with fewer options at centre-back

The departure of Chris Smalling to Roma has left Solskjaer with fewer options at centre-back

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