Eric Bailly has made it clear that Manchester United will demonstrate their world class ability under Jose Mourinho this season.
The Ivorian enjoyed an impressive opening campaign at Old Trafford after arriving from Villarreal over the summer and has looked wonderfully assured over pre-season and against West Ham United.
Man United demonstrated their verve last season by claiming the League Cup and Europa League but struggled to impress in the Premier League.
And Bailly, speaking to the Guardian, has insisted that Mourinho’s men will replicate their trophy-winning guile in the Premier League this season.
“When I came to Manchester, it was a bigger step from when I was in Villarreal. It is something that is not easy, when you come to a team where there are players that have more experience in the English league,” he said.
“I had to see how the football was played. For me it wasn’t difficult because I had very good team-mates that helped and were always looking after me, all of this helped me join the group and that is why it wasn’t that difficult.
“I’ve had the luck to be in a dressing room that is like family. The majority speak French and Spanish, like Ander [Herrera], Juan [Mata] as well as Paul [Pogba] and [Anthony] Martial and the English players, such as Chris Smalling and the others, treated me like family as well.”
“The team has always been at a world class level, they have just had some bad moments. But now it’s time to give Manchester United its value. That comes with our hard work and that’s what all the players do that come – like Lukaku and Paul, and also Lindelof. With all the hard work we put in we are going to demonstrate that we are again a world class club.”
Nobody can be sure of how far this United side can go this season, but the groundwork for something special is undoubtedly there: numerous options going forward, an indomitable and creative midfield core, a reliable keeper, a defence with an impressive record and, most importantly, superb team spirit.
They have more confidence, more knowledge of each other as teammates and indeed as people, and clearly believe in Mourinho’s methods more and more every day.
This is a side capable of dragging themselves over the line. That much was made clear last season. But the final piece of the jigsaw, always the most important thing to both supporters and players, remains elusive: the Premier League.