Éric Bailly on playing under José Mourinho at Manchester United: “He really is special.”

In an interview published in today’s L’Équipe, Marseille defender Éric Bailly notably spoke about his time at Manchester United, discussing his time playing under José Mourinho.

The Ivorian spent six seasons with the Red Devils before joining OM on loan this summer, and was managed by the Portuguese coach for his first two campaigns there, before seeing his playing time decrease in the ensuing years.

“The first contact I had with him was over the phone. I was in Abidjan when he called me, I saw a Portuguese number, I didn’t really know [what was going on], I picked up and I heard, “Hello, this is José Mourinho”. I was speechless [laughs].”

We spoke a bit, he knew that there was interest from a few clubs in England, and for him, the best way to convince me was to call me personally. He said he’d been following me for several years, that he saw me grow at Espanyol and then Villarreal.”

“The first two seasons at Manchester were the best, I have good memories. Then there was an accumulation of injuries and less playing time. Mourinho is someone who’s demanding, who has a lot of character. They call him the Special One and he really is special. He gave me a lot in my development.”


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