Manchester United produced yet another dramatic night in the Champions League on Tuesday as two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo ensured they remained in the driving seat of their group.
The hosts took the lead twice in the game but Ronaldo, who extended his incredible scoring record since sealing his return to the club, made sure his side avoided a fourth consecutive away defeat in the Champions League.
Victor Lindelof’s absence due to injury meant that Eric Bailly was handed his second appearance of the season and the Ivorian was arguably his side’s best player, despite Ronaldo’s two-goal show. He has now been picked out for special praise by team-mate Luke Shaw.
“Yeah, he was unbelievable,” Shaw told the official Manchester United YouTube channel after the game. “I think he hasn’t had many chances and of course, it’s tough. It’s not easy for someone to not play for that long and to come into a game, especially like this, the way they press, their home place, a very difficult game but he was incredible.
“A big well done to him for the way he’s been over the last few months, trained well and patiently waited for his chance and he took it very well.
“I think that’s the level for him now that he needs to show day in, day out, and of course, in the next game.”
SN’s verdict on Bailly’s performance and future at Manchester United…
The 27-year-old signed a contract extension earlier this year despite being sparingly used by the manager, an announcement that raised eyebrows among some sections of the club’s unwavering supporters.
Clearly, the former Villarreal defender backs himself to put up a challenge against United’s settled centre-back’s and if he can replicate Tuesday’s performance against Manchester City this weekend, it would be difficult for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop him.
Bailly’s frequent injuries, and the fact he had only featured once this season before the game against Atalanta, has earned him an ‘outcast’ label at the club but he will be determined to part ways with that unwanted tag.