Eric Bailly has hit back at the criticism he received in the wake of Manchester United’s dire defeat at Brighton last week.
Jose Mourinho and his players have come under fire this week following a truly wretched performance at the AmEx, with Bailly’s contribution under particular scrutiny.
Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness joked that Bailly did not know “if he’s in New York or New Year” during a match in which he gave away a penalty, while Gary Neville suggested that the Ivorian and his partner Victor Lindelof are not good enough for a team with title aspirations.
Bailly spoke to The Mirror to take issue with the flak he has received.
“I always take criticism well when it is constructive, when they are there to help and I actually like criticism but in a positive way,” said Bailly.
“But what Graeme Souness said was a little bit disrespectful because it became so personal and it’s not the sort of criticism that can help a young player improve and become a better player.
“I think the criticism was a bit harsh, particularly from people who have played the game and have probably made mistakes themselves during their career.
“As young players, we need support from these people. If we got more support from these people, that can help us. But negative comments all of the time don’t help the young players or the team.
“It was not just one individual performance on Sunday. It was the whole team that struggled. But it was just one battle lost, not the whole war.
“But it’s one game. We cannot forget that. We shouldn’t just focus on the negative, build on the positive and starting with Tottenham on Monday.”
Bailly and Lindelof cost United a combined total of £60million and the 24-year-old believes his Old Trafford career has gone well so far as he begins his third season.
“I think my career has been positive so far,” he said. “Yes, my second season was difficult because of injuries but you have to remember I was coming from a different championship in Spain.
“You have to remember the Premier League is very difficult, very different and physical. But I think I adapted well and largely my career has been very positive.
“The critics are sometimes good, sometimes bad. But this is my third season and up to now, the critics have always been positive.
“So one piece of negativity will not change my goal and my target which is to become a very good player for Manchester United.
“I’m still smiling because I know what I can do. It doesn’t change anything. Sometimes you can have a bad day, the best thing is not to think about it too much, not to let it affect you and focus on the next game and making a positive response.”