Mourinho lauds the impact of new boy Eric Bailly

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Eric Bailly impressing Mourinho
Eric Bailly impressing Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes new signing Eric Bailly has what it takes to make an impression in his first team in his first season at Old Trafford.

Mourinho admitted he didn’t know whether 22-year-old Bailly was ready to be thrust into first team action following his arrival from Villarreal last month, but the Ivory Coast defender has impressed his new boss in his first few training sessions.

After a polished displayed in the pre-season win at Wigan on Saturday, Mourinho was keen to lavish praise on Bailly, as he looks to reshape his defensive line ahead of the new Premier League season.

“He’s shown the potential we saw when we decided to buy him,” stated Mourinho. “He has the potential to become one of the best around.”

“He’s a very young boy coming from a completely different environment, but you could see what he is at this moment. With Eric, the way the fans showed how much they liked his performance when I changed him is enough.

“For Eric, this was the first time he has worn a shirt like the Manchester United shirt (at Wigan). He can’t speak English and can only communicate with the ones who are French-speakers or Spanish, so for him it’ll be step by step and that’s why I gave him more than 45 minutes.

“I wanted to give him more minutes because he needs to play more than others. He needs to feel it and start communicating.

“I will give him everything to try to make him better and better, like I did with other central defenders I’ve had in my hands. Like, for example, [Raphael] Varane, and I will try to make him the best I can.”

Bailly will be competing with Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Phil Jones for a starting spot in Mourinho’s side, with the first impressions he has made on his new boss clearly all positive.