Jose Mourinho is keen to nurture and maximise the potential of Eric Bailly at Manchester United.
The Ivorian defender made his Man United debut and in assured fashion he completed a comfortable 80 minutes. It might have been a weak Wigan Athletic side but with no English skills and in a new country, Bailly looked settled in what is a foreign environment to him.
Citing Raphael Varane as an example, Mourinho made it clear the fans’ immediate support for Bailly will make a difference.
Speaking about Bailly, Mourinho said: “Eric, the way our fans told him they liked him is enough for young boy like him. I will try to make Bailly the best I can, like I did with Varane. He has lots of potential.”
Since joining Real Madrid, Varane has grown into a top quality centre-back even if he doesn’t get much game time and we’re all hoping Bailly can do the same. After all, Jose felt he was worth the best part of £30m this summer which says something in itself.
What impressed me most about Bailly was how happy he was with the ball at his feet. I suppose it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise seeing as he has been schooled in Spanish football but it’s a breath of fresh air to see a player do that in England, especially a United defender. We need that calm and presence at the back alongside Chris Smalling.
The early indications are positive for Bailly and hopefully after a few more weeks with his team-mates, learning a bit of English along the way, he can start to feel even more settled and begin to maximise his own potential just like Mourinho wants him to.