Eric Bailly has been one of a number of pleasant surprises during Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge at Manchester United. The Portuguese has transformed the fortunes of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia to the point where all four players are considered key members of his squad, but Bailly’s integration into the first team, and his impressive adaptation to the Premier League have been particularly noteworthy.
The summer signing from Villareal has credited Mourinho for that during Wednesday’s pre-match press conference before Thursday night’s Europa League tie with Saint-Etienne:
“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.”