Eric Bailly has looked a great signing for Manchester United since joining in the summer. While injury and the African Cup of Nations has kept him out of the team more often than we would like, it is clear he has the makings of a world class defender.
Ahead of our game against St Etienne, which Jose Mourinho has confirmed Bailly will start in, our young defender has sung the praises of the manager and coaches for helping him settle so quickly in to the club.
Whether you’ve been away at the Africa Cup of Nations or not, it’s always difficult getting into this starting XI. It’s a really strong side and a really strong squad. What has been beneficial is that I was fortunate right at the start of the season to get plenty of game time so that has helped me, it has helped me grow as a player and get used to the league here. So that’s been beneficial to me and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been playing now. But you never take it for granted. It’s always tough getting in that starting XI.
I suppose one surprise was getting into the team so quickly. But what I’ve had from day one and, what I’m really grateful for, is the excellent work of the backroom staff, the coaches, the fitness coaches and I’ve enjoyed the confidence and the backing of the manager as well. Those are the factors that have really helped me settle in.
What I’ve found different to any other manager I’ve had in my career is the time he takes and the time he spends with you individually. He’s shown me videos where he’s looked at game situations that have happened that involved myself or the defence in general.
He’s taken the time to talk me through stuff. We’ve had chats about how to approach games tactically. It’s something that’s been really helpful for me. What I’ve tried to do is put into practice and work on what he’s been telling me. And I think that’s something that has really helped me. His experience is something that he’s been able to pass on to me by means of looking at clips from matches and stuff.
I’m really pleased by the fact I’ve managed to start playing so quickly and that this settling-in period has gone so relatively smoothly,” he continued. “As I said, it’s down to that welcome and I’m really pleased with the fact that I’m such a young player and I’ve managed to find my way into the side and earn the respect and the support of the older players, the experienced and veteran players within the club.