Jose Mourinho: Eric Bailly has been a surprise at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has confessed his astonishment at how well Eric Bailly has acclimatised to life at Manchester United.

The Ivorian was Mourinho’s first signing of the summer, joining from Villarreal for £30m. It was thought by many that the 22-year-old, after just one strong season with the Spanish side, would take some time to settle in at Old Trafford.

But to the surprise of many, the young Ivorian has made a rip-roaring start to his Man United career, producing powerful, bombastic performances in his first two games.

Speaking prior to United’s game with Southampton on Friday night, Mourinho admitted his surprise at how easily Bailly has adapted to English football.

“He is a young boy playing in a completely different competition with a different club,” he said.

“Despite all the pressure and expectation that comes with playing for United, he plays against Leicester at Wembley and is comfortable, leading and communicative.”

Some players – such as, say, Kleberson – come to England and simply can’t adjust to its notoriously aggressive rhythm. Others, though, look as if they were simply born to play in the Premier League.

Needless to say, Bailly fits into the latter category. At just 22, his physique is imposing: tall, powerful, exceptionally fast and inexplicably tenacious – the type of player who would go for a morning run and inadvertently win a marathon, before running back home again.

United fans will hope to see this rampaging machine patrol their side’s defence for many years to come.

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