Eric Bailly has hit back at Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness following the pundit’s criticism of his performance against Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend.
The Ivorian endured his worst performance in a Manchester United shirt last Sunday, losing his position for Brighton’s first goal, giving away a needless corner for their second, and giving away and even more needless penalty right before half time.
Speaking after the game, Souness claimed Bailly “did not know if he’s in New York or New Year” – a really strange turn of phrase I’ve never heard of – during the defeat at Brighton.
And Bailly, in an interview with the Mirror, has taken exception to the tone of Souness’ comments.
“I always take criticism well when they are constructive, when they are there to help and I actually like criticism but in a positive way,” he said.
“But what Graeme Souness said was a little bit disrespectful because it became so personal and it’s not the sort of criticism that can help a young player improve and become a better player.”
Very rarely has there been a week of such intense, poisonous scrutiny on this club from the media in recent memory. The snowball effect from a performance of such mediocrity over the weekend has been astonishing, morphing into something quite toxic.
Souness is an example of that. The man can be best described as the human personification of a scowl, of wrinkled fury at the world in general. Such a tone rattles cages, gets people talking, boosts numbers, which is exactly the point.
But for Bailly and the rest of his teammates, that rhetoric cannot be listened to. It must be blocked out. The worst thing the club – including its supporters – can do at this time is fall into the mire of demeaning rhetoric which has enveloped United this week.