Bailly shines in debut but needs more game time

Defender Eric Bailly before the pre-season friendly against second-tier Wigan Athletic. He enjoyed a fine first game and showed glimpses of why Manchester United paid £30 million (S$53.5 million) for him from Spanish side Villarreal.
Defender Eric Bailly before the pre-season friendly against second-tier Wigan Athletic. He enjoyed a fine first game and showed glimpses of why Manchester United paid £30 million (S$53.5 million) for him from Spanish side Villarreal. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

MANCHESTER • Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has called for patience with new recruit Eric Bailly, saying that the Ivorian defender will take time to adapt to the demands of the English Premier League following his move from Spain.

Bailly, Mourinho's first signing since he took over from Louis van Gaal, put on an impressive display for United as the visitors beat Wigan 2-0 at the DW Stadium in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.

The 22-year-old was part of a Villarreal defence that conceded just 35 goals in 38 league matches last season.

"He's a very young boy coming from a completely different environment, but you could see what he is at this moment," Mourinho told the British media.

"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.

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

The former Chelsea manager also likened the Ivory Coast international to defender Raphael Varane, whom he coached at Real Madrid.

"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, Varane for instance." Mourinho added.

Varane missed Euro 2016 owing to a thigh injury.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2016, with the headline 'Bailly shines in debut but needs more game time'. Print Edition | Subscribe