Bailly 'thankful' to Mourinho for Man United opportunity

Jose Mourinho was said to have a strained relationship with Eric Bailly, but the defender has thanked the former Manchester United boss.

Eric Bailly is substituted against Newcastle United.   -  Getty Images

Eric Bailly has thanked former boss Jose Mourinho for giving him the opportunity to join Manchester United, despite seemingly falling out of favour in recent months. 

United signed Bailly from Villarreal in June 2016 and the defender made 25 Premier League appearances in Mourinho's first season at Old Trafford. 

But injuries hampered the Ivory Coast international in his second year, including missing three months with an ankle issue, and he no longer appeared to be assured of a first-team place upon his return. 

Mourinho made public pleas to the United board for a centre-back ahead of the 2018-19 season and, even with no reinforcements arriving during the transfer window, Bailly still struggled to establish himself in the XI. 

The 24-year-old was substituted off 19 minutes into a home game with Newcastle United in October when Mourinho's men trailed 2-0 - they went on to triumph 3-2 thanks to a second-half turnaround - but Bailly insists there are no hard feelings following the Portuguese's departure on Tuesday.

"Whatever they may say, I will always be thankful to the person who gave me the chance to make my debut at Old Trafford," Bailly posted on Instagram alongside a picture with Mourinho.

"Thank you for what you have taught me. Good luck, coach."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has succeeded Mourinho on an interim basis until the end of the season as United begins the search for a new permanent manager.

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