Eric Bailly believes Jose Mourinho’s attention to detail is helping him to become a better defender at Manchester United.
Bailly has impressed as an imposing presence at centre-back since signing from Villarreal last pre-season and he credits Mourinho with smoothing his adaptation to English football.
The Ivory Coast international will start alongside Chris Smalling once more at the heart of defence in Thursday’s Europa League last-32 tie against Saint-Etienne at Old Trafford and praised his manager at a pre-match news conference.
“What I’ve found different to other managers is the time he takes to spend time with you individually,” Bailly said.
“He looks at situations in games that happened and takes time to talk through stuff. It’s something that’s been really helpful for me.
“I think it’s something which really helps me and his experience has been passed on to me.”
“The difference between Jose & any other manager is the time he takes to go through stuff with you. It’s been really helpful for me.” pic.twitter.com/mHdycdTDu2
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 15, 2017
The 22-year-old did not expect to be a first-team fixture at this stage of his United career and extended his appreciation to Mourinho’s backroom team when assessing his rapid rate of progress.
“I’m surprised I got in the team so quickly but I’m really grateful for the backroom staff, the coaches and the fitness coaches,” he said.
“They’ve really helped me settle in, which has gone relatively smoothly.
“I’m such a young player and I’ve managed to fight my way into the side and get the respect of the older players at the club.”
Bailly is one of two United players one yellow card away from suspension, along with midfielder Ander Herrera, and he must keep his discipline in what he expects to be a tough encounter against Saint-Etienne.
Christophe Galtier’s side are currently fifth in Ligue 1 and have Paul Pogba’s brother Florentin in their ranks.
“Well we’re aware of what a good season they’re having,” he added. “They’re on a good run of form.
“We’re able to see French football on TV and we know they’ve got a really good group dynamic and I think they’re going to be a threat.”
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