International

Bailly insists United won't be distracted

2017-02-16 09:01
Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Eric Bailly is confident Manchester United will not let the hype around Paul Pogba and his brother distract them from their objective when they take on Saint-Ettiene in the Europa League on Thursday.

The fixture at Old Trafford sees United midfielder Pogba take on his older brother Florentin, who is a defender for the French club.

Speaking to the media prior to the match, Bailly revealed that Pogba has mentioned that the tie will be the first time he has clashed with his brother, but insisted that Jose Mourinho's side will be well-prepared for the tie.

"We know it's a special occasion for the Pogba family and the Pogba brothers," said Bailly.

"We're also aware that it's a very serious knock-out stage game in the Europa League.

"They've been having a bit of fun, he's mentioned it a little bit in training. But the focus is on St Etienne.

"We're aware of the good season St Etienne are having, they are in a good run of form at the moment. Paul doesn't need to tell us that.

"We know it's going to be a tough game. They are going to be a threat."

After returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, the Ivorian has regained his place in the heart of the United defense, and will likely partner Chris Smalling on Thursday, with Phil Jones sidelined through injury.

Despite Jones' absence, Bailly maintains that Mourinho will field a formidable team for the clash.

"Whether you're away at the Africa Cup of Nations or not, it's always difficult getting into this team," Bailly continued. 

"It's a strong side and a strong squad.

"What has been beneficial is that I was fortunate right at the start of the season to get games. That's help me grow as a player and get used to the league.

"You never take it for granted, it's always tough to get into the starting line-up.

"One surprise for me was getting into the team so quickly. But what I've had from day one is the excellent work of the backroom staff, the coaches and the backing for the manager. It's helped me settle.

"I'm pleased I started playing so quickly and the settling in period has gone relatively smoothly. It's down to the welcome.

"I'm a young player and I'm pleased I've been able to earn the support and respect of the senior players."

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