Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has responded to Eric Bailly’s claim that the Red Devils favor English players.
Bailly left United this summer for Olympique Marseille on a season-long loan with an option to buy for £5 million should the Ligue 1 side qualify for the Champions League.
The Ivorian fell down the pecking order at Old Trafford but the defender feels that this was down to the Premier League club favoring English players.
“The club [Manchester United] should avoid favoring English players and give everyone a chance. The club should encourage competition in the dressing room. I always had the impression that the English player was favoured.”
“That’s not the case at Chelsea or other big Premier League clubs. Some take it for granted that they’re going to start, and that weakens the team. Fortunately, [Erik] ten Hag has a lot of character and I hope he can change that.”
Ten Hag is preparing his Red Devils side for a clash with Real Sociedad in the Europa League on September 8 at Old Trafford.
In his pre-match press conference, he was asked for his take on Bailly’s comments (via talkSPORT):
“I have nothing to say about that because it was last season, I wasn’t in charge, so I don’t know the situation.”
Ten Hag was then asked if nationality will dictate which player is chosen whilst he is in charge of Manchester United:
“Not for me.”
Bailly leaves United having made 113 appearances for the Red Devils, winning the UEFA Europa League and the League Cup.
Bailly’s comments hint at frustrations with Manchester United captain Harry Maguire
Throughout last season, many had been asking why an out-of-form Maguire was keeping his place in the Manchester United XI.
He was a favorite under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the former Red Devils boss having made him captain just months into the defender’s arrival at Old Trafford.
Maguire made 121 appearances under Solskjaer whilst Bailly made 43.
Ex-Interim manager Ralf Rangnick then took over and the same situation ensued.
The English centre-back made 21 appearances under the German with the Ivorian making just three.
Bailly does need to realize the injury issues which have hampered most of his time at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, in Maguire’s first season at the club, he featured in every fixture which evidently sat well with Solskjaer.
The new Marseille centre-back had hinted at his frustrations with a comment on his Instagram that would receive huge backlash from Rangnick.