It was a big night for Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly against Everton last night.

Both defenders have had their injury problems this season which have meant their campaigns haven’t really got going.

Bailly made his first start since the 6-1 loss against Tottenham in October and was imperious in the Manchester United clean sheet.

Tuanzebe was out of position at right back, up against Richarlison but impressed defensively as well as getting involved going forward.

Everton v Manchester United - Carabao Cup Quarter Final
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Speaking to the club’s official website after the game, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picked the pair out for some deserved praise.

“The players know we trust them,” said Solskjaer. “We have a big squad and everyone has to step up at different times in the season.

 

“It’s a big game for players who haven’t played for a while, Axel [Tuanzebe] for example and Eric [Bailly], they’ve not played for a while. They did really well!”

The fact both men got through 90 minutes was a big boost for Solskjaer. It came at the perfect time with the games mounting up over Christmas.

Everton v Manchester United - Carabao Cup Quarter Final
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

What both men offer is pace. Neither Victor Lindelof or Harry Maguire is the quickest across the ground.

That can impact United’s ability to defend high up the pitch, and the recovery pace of Bailly and Tuanzebe could really make a difference to United’s backline.

Now, as has been said so many times before, the key for both men is to stay fit. They deserve some better luck with injuries.

Opportunities should come their way over the festive period, especially given the fact Lindelof has been managing a back injury throughout the season. On this evidence, they’ll take them.

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