Bailly on new season and signings
Manchester United defender Eric Bailly says he and his team-mates are determined to build on last season's second-place finish in the league and a Europa League runners-up spot and insists the added ammunition of new signings Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane is an exciting prospect for everyone in the squad.
While hugely disappointed to bow out at the quarter-final stage of the tournament in Tokyo following defeat to Spain, Bailly says representing his nation at the Games was a dream come true. But his attentions are now fully focused on club goals as the Reds look to maintain momentum after last weekend's superb opening-weekend win over Leeds United.
"It’s really good to be back with the team. Before that, I had the Olympics in Tokyo which was a good experience," Bailly told club media's Stewart Gardner.
Switching focus to the SaintsGallery
See which Reds were involved in Wednesday’s training at Carrington, as we look ahead to the first away game of 2021/22.
"I scored in the last game but, unfortunately, we lost [it] in the last minute. For me, the most important [thing] is to play with my team-mates and to enjoy. We had a very, very hard game against Brazil and Germany and we did well.
"It was my first experience [at the Olympics] and, for me, it was a really good experience, apart from losing [an equaliser] to Spain in the last minute, but, you know, football is like that.
"Now it’s finished. I’m back with the team which has been enjoyable and we have started well in the league," he added. "The first game, we enjoyed so much. The fans were back, which is so important, and we won. We know the rivalry between United and Leeds and winning this game was great.
"The fans are very special. When we play at Old Trafford, we need to them and not just at Old Trafford, but in England in the league, we all need the fans. They give energy to the league and to the team, and we all enjoy having them back."
He was joined on the pitch by new signing Sancho and, reflecting on the England winger and Varane's arrival in Manchester, Bailly says he is relishing the competition and extra strength they both bring to the first-team group.
"Yes, that’s United; we always have good players," he declares. "We have a very strong squad – we have brought in Varane, who has good experience and is a very good player. Ten years, I think he had in Spain, winning many trophies and that is very good for the mentality of the team.
"Sancho is a good young player and has come to help the team. This season, we are all here to try to win trophies.
"For me, this season, the first thing is to be injury-free, to train well and wait for my time," continued our no.3, when asked about his aims for the season.
"That’s my mentality. With the team, I hope we win many, many trophies. Last season, we played well and were second in the league and we lost in the final to Villarreal, but always, in football, you have another chance and I think this year is one for us to try to win many trophies."