Bailly: We have to stay focused

Saturday 26 February 2022 09:40

Eric Bailly's hopes of a successful start to February with Ivory Coast may have been dashed, but he's determined to finish the month on a high as Manchester United take on Watford at Old Trafford.

The combative centre-back is ready to help Ralf Rangnick's squad hold on to a place in the Premier League's top four, after overcoming the ankle and head injuries he sustained while on duty for Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations.

"After coming back from AFCON I have no pain [in my ankle] anymore, so all is good," said Bailly, in an exclusive interview for United Review, the official match programme.

Bailly: I'm fit again after AFCON Video

Bailly: I'm fit again after AFCON

Watch part of Eric Bailly's big United Review interview, reflecting on AFCON and looking ahead to our season run-in...

"I had some problems in a group-stage game against Sierra Leone with the head injury but afterwards it was not too bad.  I was okay to play against Egypt and I tried to play a good game, we were just unlucky to lose on penalties.

"For me, we were capable of winning the trophy but we have to accept that with penalties you just never know what can happen – and unfortunately for us we lost," he added, reflecting on the shoot-out defeat to Egypt, the eventual runners-up to champions Senegal.
While Eric will be proud to represent his country again when the next occasion arises, his focus is now on club football with this afternoon's Watford fixture preceding two clashes against sides above and just below the Reds in the Premier League, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

The Ivorian defender reflected the determination within Ralf Rangnick's squad when he said: "The ambition firstly is to win as many games as we can and to secure that top-four spot in the league.

"For a club like Manchester United, it is always important to be in the Champions League. We are a big team and it is important for us to finish in the top four in the league this season, and to keep playing in this tournament next year."

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Today's visitors Watford, meanwhile, have a different objective - to stay in the Premier League at the end of the season by finishing at least a couple of places higher than their current 19th position.

That mission makes them dangerous opponents, warns Bailly, as does the outcome of our last meeting when the Hornets won 4-1 at Vicarage Road back in November.

"Everybody remembers that Watford won against us and that gives us a good motive to try and improve, win this game and take three points.
"We do not have an easy game in this league. All the teams in the league are fighting for something, some to stay in the division, but our fight is to reach the top four in the league.

"That is good because it is important to take every point that’s possible. Now against Watford I think if we do what we do in training we can win this game for sure.

"The most important thing is to focus and to win the game. To keep winning is very important. In March, we have many games and lots of important ones."

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