Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has outlined his ambitions after signing a new contract at Old Trafford.
The Ivory Coast international admits he did not have to deliberate before agreeing terms that will run until June 2024, with the option of a further year. He is aiming to remain injury-free, lift the Europa League trophy this term and then sustain a push for the Premier League title in 2021/22.
“I’m very happy,” he told club media. “This decision is something I didn’t have to think about, I love this club and I love playing for Manchester United. I’m happy and so are my family, everything is good. Now the moment with my injury has passed and I’m fit and feel good, and that’s it. A new contract is like a new challenge and I’m ready for this.”
The centre-back, who joined from Villarreal in 2016, accepts it is important for any player to have that stability off the pitch by resolving their future and is pleased to have the faith of the manager and his staff.
“That’s why I say the new contract shows the group has confidence in me – the coach, the staff and the players and, for me, that is very important,” he said. “And that’s why I made this decision to stay at the club.”
Bailly, 27, won the Europa League with the Reds in 2017 and the Reds meet Roma in the first leg of the semi-final of this year’s competition at Old Trafford on Thursday.
“For me, it’s the dream to be here,” he added. “Now it’s my fifth season and I hope to be here a long time.
“We are in a good position. We have the Europa League and we are second in the league and that is very good. We hope we can win this trophy [Europa League] – it is very important for us and for the fans and for the season. We want to finish well in the Premier League as well, I’m sure we will.
“I hope I can be ready and I don’t get any injuries and to be strong and finish the season well. I hope to win the Europa League this season. We will have more challenges next season – hopefully the Champions League – and, for me, my dream is to win the Premier League, that’s my big dream.”
RELATED STORY: Ivory Coast’s Greatest XI: 2000 – 2020
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa