Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly is apparently facing a fitness race ahead of next week’s round of 16 Champions League first leg versus Sevilla. The centre-back has not featured for the Red Devils since the international break in November,
Initially, the 23-year-old was expected to make a return during the festive period with United’s medical staff opting for a conservative treatment on the ankle injury. However. the Ivorian’s eventually underwent a surgery which has prolonged his return to first-team football.
A recent report suggested that Bailly could return to United’s matchday squad for the European outing at Sevilla, but according to ESPN, the away trip could come a week too soon with the defender yet to rejoin his teammates in training.
United boss Jose Mourinho confirmed that only Zlatan Ibrahimovic has linked up for full training among a trio consisting of Bailly and Daley Blind, and it would come as a huge surprise, if the former makes the starting XI at the Estadio Ramon.
Nonetheless, Bailly has been hugely missed in the United setup over the past few months, and Phil Jones has looked a far better player alongside the Ivorian than Smalling, who received plenty of criticism for his lame defensive display versus Newcastle United.