Eric Bailly has always had the ability. It has been his fitness which has let him down.

Last night he started his fourth consecutive match for the first time since 2017.

Perhaps, finally, Bailly’s luck is turning. If it does, United are so much better off for it.

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The Ivory Coast international played a key part in United’s victory. Deep into injury time he produced a last minute block to deny Keinan Davis what looked like could be an equaliser.

When the final whistle blew the players mobbed Bailly like he had just scored a winning goal. Such is the combination of his forceful personality and the magnitude of the moment.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke after the game to the club website about the post-match celebrations and Bailly’s display.

Solskjaer said: “He’s had such a difficult time with injuries. He’s such a likeable man. In that dressing room, everyone wants to see him succeed. We know how important he can be for us and tonight he was immense.”

Bailly was excellent throughout the game. There was an instance in the first half where he threw himself at a cross to cut it out with a headed clearance which was typical of his bravery and athleticism.

He made six clearances in total. The rest of United’s back four made six combined.

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Solskjaer’s appreciation spoke of a manager who is thrilled to have Bailly back and contributing.

The challenge for Bailly is always about staying fit, and Victor Lindelof will be back competing for his place when he is healthy again. Axel Tuanzebe also has his own claim to stake.

United’s defensive options are suddenly looking good, even without reinforcements.