The Ivorian, Mourinho’s first signing at Man United, has made 27 appearances in all competitions so far this season.
Some questioned whether Bailly – who only had one full season of playing at the highest level under his belt prior to arriving at Old Trafford – would manage to immediately align with Mourinho’s lofty defensive standards, but has delighted supporters with his bombastic, direct attitude at the back.
And the 23-year-old, speaking to ManUtd.com, has noted that, contrary to popular belief, developing under the Portuguese has been hugely beneficial.
“Most of the players at Manchester United are young,” he said. “We have a great future ahead of us. We are here to learn so it is important to listen to the coach’s advice and also the critics.
“Every player should receive some criticism because we are not perfect. So we have to accept the criticism from the coach and we have to keep on working because the most important thing is to work and improve and gather experience.
“For me this coach is very important for us and every young player at Manchester United.”
Bailly is right when he notes that this is a comparatively young United side: other first team players under the age of 25-year-old include Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, with the likes of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe, Mathew Willock and hopefully Andreas Pereira also posing an outside challenge to the squad (sorry Adnan).
Now that, thinking on a long term basis, is a truly tantalising hotbed of talent. The nature of modern football will dictate that Mourinho, expected to deliver instant results, ought to splash out on established talents with the astronomical funds at his disposal, but one has to consider the benefits of keeping that aforementioned group, coupled with a few experienced heads, firmly together for a few seasons. Perhaps then United fans would witness some desperately needed chemistry after several years of disjointed set-ups.