Jose Mourinho was full of praise for new signing Eric Bailly and suggested that he has the potential to be “the best around”. Bailly, who has 15 caps for the Ivory Coast, was Mourinho’s first signing at the club and had a solid debut in the 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic on Saturday. The former Villarreal man will most likely line up along side Chris Smalling this season, as United look to qualify for the Champions League and challenge for the title.
Mourinho is keen to protect his young defender, citing the fact that Bailly can’t yet speak English, but is excited at the prospect of developing him into a top class centre half. The Portuguese compared the opportunity to what he faced at Real Madrid with Raphael Varane.
Jose Mourinho, who was taking charge for his first game, wanted to ensure that his new signing was given more than 45 minutes to help with his communication with other players:
“For Eric, this was the first time he has worn a shirt like the Manchester United shirt. 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.”
At only 22 years old, United fans will be delighted that the club have signed a top young centre half who has an abundance of potential to succeed at Old Trafford. It is this potential that Mourinho is looking forward to working with and in nurturing the youngster. He even compared the task in hand to what he faced as Real Madrid manager with Raphael Varane:
“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, Varane, and I will try to make him the best I can.
He’s shown the potential we saw when we decided to buy him. He has the potential to become one of the best around.”