Belfast Telegraph

Foxes boss Ranieri backs misfiring Martial to find form

Claudio Ranieri has backed Anthony Martial to come good for Manchester United and brush off any criticism.

The Leicester boss signed Martial for Monaco from Lyon in 2013 before United shelled out £36million to bring him to Old Trafford in the summer.

He scored four goals in his first four games, but has netted just once in his last 14 outings, drawing a blank in Wednesday's 0-0 Champions League draw with PSV.

United great Paul Scholes criticised the 19-year-old following their PSV stalemate, saying on BT Sport he did not look "bothered" about missing chances.

Ranieri understood Scholes' comments and believes Martial can use the remarks to become stronger.

He said: "He is 19-years-old. It is right to make criticism - and Scholes made the right criticism - but it will improve his mind. His character is very strong, he is young, but strong. It is important that he is also intelligent and then he can improve.

"I think his impact for us was amazing. He scored four goals if I remember. I have watched him grow a lot since two or three years ago when I bought him from Lyon. Now he is young, but he is a man.

"Already, three years ago, he knew very well where he will arrive because his focus was to achieve a high level of football in the world. I think he can arrive."

Leicester host United and Martial on Saturday with the Foxes top, one point ahead of their second-placed visitors.

Ranieri added: "It's the big match of the Premier League this week. We are top of league and in this moment we deserve this. For us, it's another match to see how we have to improve. When we play great teams, great champions, I have to see how our team show the tactics - how we react if we lose a goal and how we react if we score a goal."

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