Manchester United have recalled Eric Bailly following their shaky defensive performance against Newcastle, just days after allowing the centre-back to fly to the Ivory Coast.
Eric Bailly has flown back to the United Kingdom just days after Manchester United granted him permission to join the Ivory Coast squad, according to reports.
The centre-back, 27, could feature against Burnley in the Premier League on Thursday as Ralf Rangnick frantically searches for solutions in defence.
The Red Devils were fortunate to leave St James’ Park with a point and had David de Gea to thank for limiting Newcastle to one goal in Monday’s 1-1 draw.
Raphael Varane was at fault for Allan Saint-Maximin’s opener, clearly lacking match sharpness after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury.
His defensive partner, Harry Maguire, also put in a dubious performance on Tyneside and Rangnick admitted his side were lacking physically as they failed to win “direct duels”.
The former Villarreal star had been granted permission to link up with his international teammates early to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations. The Ivory Coast kick off their campaign against Equatorial Guinea on 12 January.
But with fellow centre-back Victor Lindelof ruled out due to coronavirus, Bailly has returned to United and could feature against Burnley ahead of either Varane or Maguire.
He has only made six appearances in all competitions this season and his last start in the top-flight came in late November, when United held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw.
But Rangnick knows his side can hardly afford to drop more points in the race for the top four as they look to close the gap on Arsenal.
The disappointing draw with Newcastle was the Red Devils’ first game in over two weeks due to a coronavirus outbreak at their Carrington base, which led to the postponement of fixtures against Brentford and Brighton.
United skipper Maguire confessed there was bound to be rustiness due to the closure of the training ground in a downbeat verdict after the match.