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Manchester United defender Eric Bailly.

Bailly: The fans are very important to me

Eric Bailly has praised Manchester United supporters ahead of the Emirates FA Cup clash with Brighton & Hove Albion and says he knows what the team needs to do to get past the Seagulls.

Speaking to MUTV, the Ivorian has said that he values the fans after becoming a firm favourite with them since he arrived at the club 18 months ago.

“It makes me really happy when I see the fans speaking highly of me,” said the defender, “it's quite key at a football club when you have the fans behind you, it means that you are making a positive contribution.

"What I need to do is to roll my sleeves up and keep working really hard so I can try and perform even better. It's very important to me and I want to try and continue in the same vein.

Jose Mourinho speaks to Eric Bailly from the touchline.
Eric Bailly has started the last three games in all competitions.

After a difficult few days due to the Champions League defeat by Sevilla, the Reds' next assignment is to beat Brighton at Old Trafford and Bailly is under no illusion that a place in next month's FA Cup semi-finals is a given.

“They are a team in form at the moment and they've got players to cause us problems,” said the centre-back, assessing this evening's visitors. “The very fact they've reached the quarter-finals shows the quality they have. We'll have to be on our guard and really switched on.

"We have to be careful and keep a close eye on this team. We know they won't be giving anything away for free on Saturday.

Eric Bailly comes on as a substitute against Huddersfield.
Eric Bailly returned from an ankle injury in the last round of the FA Cup against Huddersfield.

A keen observer of the competition before his move to United, Bailly is aware of what the FA Cup means and is keen to help his team get closer to winning it for a second time in three years.

“I did used to follow the FA Cup really closely,” he said. “It's also even more important for us right now as we try and lift our morale as a team.

"We know what we have to do to achieve our objective, which is to win the game on Saturday, so we can get to the semi-finals. If we play the way we know we can play and perform to our strengths and give it our all, I think we can get the win.