Mourinho handed fitness boost ahead of tight festive period schedule

Manchester United are going through turbulent times at the moment. The Red Devils have been inconsistent and are already 11 points off the pace at the top ends of the table. They are currently placed 6th, some 8 points adrift of Arsenal who occupy the last Champions League spot.

Defensively, the team is in shambles and latest news coming out from the treatment room at Carrington is sure to delight Jose Mourinho. According to the Express, £30m summer arrival, Eric Bailly has returned to first team training after being out for five weeks due to knee ligament injury. The 22 year old has been sorely missed and should feature in the first team next week or in a fortnight.

Bailly injured his knee in the 4-0 thumping at Chelsea back in October and was initially feared to be out until Christmas or The New Year, but his potential return is likely to lift up spirits at Old Trafford, after what has been a difficult few weeks. The Ivory Coast international, prior to his injury, had been one of the standout performers for the 20-time English champions and his injury elicited huge fear in the minds of the most passionate of United supporters.

The next four games are set to be season defining for Mourinho and his charges. Potential banana skins matches against Everton, Tottenham, Crystal Palace and West Brom in the league all leading to Christmas are now must-wins for the club as they aim to reduce the point deficits between them and the teams in the Top 4.

Bailly, despite his relative topflight inexperience in Spain with Villarreal was the first signing for Mourinho. The former Espanyol centre back is highly rated by the Portuguese as he believes he has all the attributes to be a top-class centre back in the mould of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, certified Red Devils legends. He is quick, intelligent and is also a ball playing defender. He is a good tackler and has positional awareness.

He is set to go for the African Nations Cup in January, which means that Mourinho is looking for potential replacements in the January transfer window.