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Man Utd defender Bailly: In my mind, I was going to Man City!

Eric Bailly admits he could quite easily be lining up for Manchester City in tonight's Manchester derby.

The Ivory Coast defender was a firm target for Pep Guardiola's City before eventually ending up at their fierce rivals Manchester United this past summer.

Bailly, 23, joined United from Spanish club Villarreal for £30million after holding talks with Jose Mourinho while he was back in his homeland.

“I was in the Ivory Coast, I got called from a ­Portuguese number, he ­introduced himself but I just didn't ­believe it at first," Bailly recalled to the Daily Mirror.

“Before I came to Man United, it was City who had been watching me. In my mind, I was going there. But then everything changed.

"It felt like Mourinho was the one who really wanted me. He showed more interest, he rang me and that's why I'm at Man United.

"Man City contacted my agent, Barcelona as well were talking to my agent, but they weren't as interested in me as Mourinho. He really pushed for the move.

“Of course the club is ­important when you sign, but the manager is so important. If a player feels like the manager wants you, wants to sign you, it gives you extra motivation.

“The first game with City was not easy for me – it was my first derby – but obviously it gives me extra motivation when we play City now."

Regarding his decision to link up with Mourinho at Old Trafford, Bailly added: “I've always thought Mourinho was good coaching defenders.

“I used to watch ­Raphael Varane, saw the ­progression he made under Mourinho [at Real Madrid] and knew he could help me as a player."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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