‘Uncle’ Solskjaer offers inspiration for Bailly in Man Utd trophy chase

The Red Devils defender is enjoying working under a former fan favourite at Old Trafford and wants to get his hands on the Europa League crown

Eric Bailly is enjoying working under “uncle” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and wants to help his current boss enhance his standing as a club legend by securing more major silverware.

The 1999 Treble winner was brought back to Old Trafford in December 2018 as Jose Mourinho was ushered through the exits.

Success in an interim post saw Solskjaer handed a three-year contract while being charged with the task of overseeing a long-term rebuilding project.

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Questions have been asked of his suitability to a demanding role at times, but he retains the full support of his board as signs of progress are seen on the field .

Bailly is among those relishing the opportunity to learn from a United icon, with Solskjaer fully aware of the demands being placed on those at his disposal.

“It’s important being able to work with someone who is a former player,” Bailly told ESPN .

“Someone who understands the players’ situations, understands all the things that can happen from time to time.

“Because football is not just played on the pitch, it’s also about all the things that go on around the game, the things that people don’t see, and he is someone that gets that and it helps the team a lot. Besides being a coach, he’s just a normal person you know? I would say like an uncle.”

Solskjaer has United in contention for a top-four finish this season, while success in FA Cup and Europa League competition also remains up for grabs.

That continental crown was the last that the Red Devils claimed, in Mourinho’s debut campaign back in 2016-17, and Bailly wants to get his hands on it again having been banned for a final date with Ajax three years ago .

The Ivorian defender added: “Considering the position we are in now, I would prefer to win the Europa League because when you win that, it takes you to the Champions League.

“So for me, that’s my favourite. However, trying to win every game is important and that’s all we can do and see where that takes us.”

Bailly can be expected to play a leading role for United from this point, with the 25-year-old having shaken off a knee injury which kept him sidelined for over six months to work his way back into contention for regular minutes.

“When you’re injured you basically can’t do anything,” he said.

“The emotions you feel are just rage. But if it happens to you then, that’s that.

“You have to find some peace with it. It really was difficult seeing the team suffer at times and losing important matches but you know, it’s still such a young team and we still have so much to learn.

“But right before my return, the team was growing in confidence and I was lucky to return to the team that has a strong mentality.”

United will be in Premier League action on Sunday when they take in a derby date with arch-rivals Manchester City.

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