Since arriving at Manchester United, Eric Bailly has proven he is not scared of a challenge and it seems that attitude prevails off the pitch as well.
The Ivory Coast international said he would welcome United’s supposedly imminent acquisition of Benfica’s Victor Lindelof when speaking to the media after his country’s 2-1 come-from-behind win in a pre-African Nation’s Cup friendly in Dubai.
“I hope to play with him. Hopefully he will help us,” he told Fotbollskanalen in Abu Dhabi.
“He is a very good player. He has great qualities and will certainly do well if he comes to us.”
With Bailly away on international duty, Marcos Rojo under an injury cloud and Phil Jones injury history, it is rumoured that United manager Mourinho sees Lindelof, 22, as an ideal candidate for a spot in United’s back four.
Mourinho denied such claims earlier this week, claiming he had enough faith in Chris Smalling, Jones and Rojo to see United through Bailly’s absence, with the further options of Daley Blind and Michael Carrick also providing defensive cover.
Still, the Lindelof rumours persist and while Bailly acknowledged the 22-year-old Swedish international could represent another challenge to his chances of playing regular first-team football at United, the Ivory Coast star said he already has to compete with fine defenders for a spot in Mourinho’s team.
“We have many good central defenders — Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones — but I hope I get to play with Lindelof.
“I don’t have a guaranteed place and I know I have to be good to play. We’re all fighting to play. I think we have done well. We have done our best.
“The day we get to play, if it comes, we must take advantage of that opportunity. I think we would fit well together.”