Manchester United still need to do a professional job against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford but the job is almost done.

A 4-0 first leg lead should allow Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to rest any first teamers he feels need a night off.

That should allow the likes of Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe a chance to continue their journeys back to full fitness and confidence.

Manchester United Training Session
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Bailly recovered from a shaky start to shine in the first leg, and even rounded off his night by setting up a goal.

We know Solskjaer has to manage his return carefully given his injury record but Thursday’s game should provide the perfect chance for him to get 90 minutes under his belt.

As for Tuanzebe, Solskjaer has twice brought him into the side against theoretically weaker opponents – Istanbul Basaksehir and Sheffield United.

Both times he played alongside Harry Maguire and both times United lost the game.

Manchester United v Sheffield United - Premier League
(Dave Thompson – Pool/Getty Images)

Tuanzebe hasn’t started since that loss against the Blades and a substitute appearance in stoppage time against Everton ended with him conceding the free kick which led to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s equaliser.


He could do with a full 90 minutes to get his belief back up and playing alongside a different partner than Maguire may also help too.

Bailly and Tuanzebe have started just twice together all season.

At Everton in the EFL Cup, Tuanzebe was at right-back, which means the only time they’ve been seen from the off as a central pairing was the 1-0 FA Cup win over Watford.

Even then, they only lasted 45 minutes together because Bailly was forced off with an injury.

Manchester United v Watford - FA Cup Third Round
(Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

It’s a shame the pair haven’t played together more often because they have the makings of a dynamic, pacey central defensive duo.

Thursday’s game should provide the perfect opportunity to see them together, in a relatively low pressure game.

They could both use the run-out and the boost of confidence a strong performance and a clean sheet would give them.

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