Belfast Telegraph

Martial has to start delivering for Manchester United, warns Jose

 

By Simon Peach

Jose Mourinho has warned Anthony Martial "great potential" is not enough as the Manchester United boss needs the forward to start delivering what he wants.

Having started so impressively after his big-money move from Monaco in 2015, the 21-year-old's second season at Old Trafford has been a struggle.

Martial has scored seven goals this term and been left out of the United squad entirely on occasions, including Sunday's impressive 2-0 win against Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Mourinho confirmed his omission was down to dissatisfaction rather than injury, calling on Martial to take a leaf out of 19-year-old team-mate Marcus Rashford's book.

"We have been together for almost 10 months," the United boss said ahead of tonight's Europa League quarter-final second leg with Anderlecht.

"The same way I know the players much better now, the players should also know me much better now.

"The same way I know what the players like, the players also know what I like. The same way I have to go in the direction of the players, the players have also to come in my direction.

"That's why Marcus Rashford, even without scoring goals, he was always a player I trusted.

"He was always a player that I played and supported because he was always coming in my direction, in the direction of what I want from a player.

"So do I think Anthony is a player with great potential? Yes.

"Do I think he can play successfully for me? Yes. But he needs to give me things that I like very much."

It is not the first time Mourinho has expressed frustration about Martial after earlier this month criticising the forward, along with United's other attackers, for their toothlessness in the 0-0 draw with West Brom - the France international's last start.

The attacking quartet that day also included Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who last week in Belgium scored in a fourth successive European trip as United drew 1-1 with Anderlecht.

The away goal could be crucial in this quarter-final clash but the Armenian appears to be another attacking player frustrating Mourinho, having struggled to replicate his Europa League form on the domestic front.

Twice asked if Mkhitaryan was fulfilling his full potential, on both occasions Mourinho said: "In the Europa League, yes."

Mkhitaryan and Martial trained with the United squad ahead of the return leg against Anderlecht, as did captain Wayne Rooney.

The 31-year-old trained last week at the Aon Training Complex but did not travel to Belgium, nor was the forward involved in the squad that faced Chelsea.

Rooney has been struggling with ankle pain recently but is set to return to the bench, having linked up with the squad at the team hotel on the eve of the match after coming through yesterday's session.

"He is working now, he is improving," the United boss said before training. "And if in the training session the answer is positive, I would select him to be on the bench tomorrow.

"His experience, his know-how of this knockout phase, I think he is a player who can be useful.

"If we need a goal, he can help us. If we need to keep a result, to keep the ball, to keep control by having possession, he can help us, so hopefully his answer in the training session is positive."

Juan Mata, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are definitely out of a quarter-final clash that Sergio Romero will start instead of first-choice goalkeeper David de Gea.

"He is not my goalkeeper for the Europa League," Mourinho said, having also played Romero in Brussels. "He is my goalkeeper for tomorrow and he was my goalkeeper in other matches, but he is not my goalkeeper for the Europa League.

"I never like to do that, complete separation.

"I can say priority for Sergio to play in the Europa League, yes, but we had some matches when David played.

"David's priority is to play Premier League but I don't like the complete separation. I cannot say every match is for one or another.

"The reality is Sergio is very stable, is very experienced, is playing very well."

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