Solskjaer hints at Man Utd start for Bailly against Brighton after Lindelof horror show

Eric Bailly Victor Lindelof Man Utd 2020-21
The Red Devils boss has suggested he could bring in the Ivorian following the Swede's dismal performance in their previous Premier League clash

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested Eric Bailly could take Victor Lindelof’s place alongside Harry Maguire for Manchester United's meeting with Brighton following the Swede's struggles against Crystal Palace.

The former Benfica centre-back has been a regular fixture in defence for United since he signed but questions have been raised over whether he is good enough to play such a prominent role.

The 26-year-old was arguably at fault for all three of Crystal Palace’s goals at Old Trafford as Solskjaer’s side lost their opening league game of the new campaign.

And Bailly, who spent the majority of last season out injured, started alongside Maguire in the League Cup win against Luton on Tuesday as the Norwegian took Lindelof out of the firing line.

The Ivorian has struggled with injury throughout his United career but Solskjaer is hoping he can get more regular minutes now he is back to full fitness.

The club are in the market for another centre-half but the Old Trafford boss insists he is happy with the options he has and hinted that Bailly could well play from the start at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Solskjaer told reporters on Friday: "I think last season proved to us how we can defend at our best - last week wasn't fantastic.

"We conceded sloppy goals but I think our defensive record from last season with Eric and Harry shows how good a partnership they were and also defending well as a team.

"Eric is fit again now, which is a big, big bonus and a big plus for us. I’m looking forward to seeing him develop and play more games for us this season. We've been waiting him to be fit and then to play more regularly."

Another option for Solskjaer at centre-back could be Chris Smalling.

The 30-year-old impressed on loan at Roma last season and is keen to go back to Italy but the transfer is stalling as United are not happy with the money on the table from the Serie A side.

Article continues below

That could see the former Fulham defender come into contention - although Solskjaer did admit that something "different" needs to happen for Smalling to be brought back in.

"Different things need to happen," the United manager explained. "So, let's wait and see if there is that change. Let's see what happens if and when the transfer window closes and what happens to Chris."