Anthony Martial on Jose Mourinho: 'You Definitely Want to Prove Him Wrong'

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2020

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20:  Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United shakes hands with goalscorer Anthony Martial of Manchester United after the Premier League match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor on January 20, 2018 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Anthony Martial has said he was motivated to show Jose Mourinho his quality on the pitch during the manager's Manchester United tenure.

The France international discussed Mourinho's management style with RMC Sport (via Tom Coast of Sport Witness) and said he wanted to prove the Portuguese coach wrong after being omitted from his starting XI when he took over at Old Trafford:

"It's true that I'd have preferred it if he'd told me directly, there's no need to say it in front of everybody. After that, you definitely want to prove him wrong. He didn't start me during the first few games and each time I came on, I scored.

"In the end, he told me: 'You see, now you understand what I wanted'. It can get to you. You just want to show him you deserve to be on the pitch."

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Mourinho succeeded Louis van Gaal at United in 2016-17, and Martial made only 18 Premier League starts in the coach's first term. The attacker scored four goals and provided six assists during the league campaign, frustrating Mourinho with his lack of productivity.

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However, Martial made 10 appearances in the UEFA Europa League that season, with the Red Devils winning the competition and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. United also won the EFL Cup.

Mourinho's second season saw United finish second in the Premier League, but the manager was sacked during his third campaign in December 2018. The club were in sixth place at the time.

The former Monaco player struggled for game time while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney were present in Mourinho's attack, and the industrious work of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard was often favoured over Martial's contributions.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Anthony Martial of Manchester United holds off a challenge from Conor Coady of Wolverhampton Wanderers during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on February 01,
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's arrival as coach 14 months ago has seen Martial's status elevated, and the Frenchman was handed the No. 9 jersey after Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan.

Martial had previously lost the shirt to Ibrahimovic in 2016, but Solskjaer rewarded the player with the prestigious number.

The 24-year-old's striking displays have been hit or miss this season. Martial has netted 10 goals and provided three assists in the Premier League and Europe.

Further weight of expectations are currently on the player's shoulders after an injury to Rashford, and Martial must keep finding the back of the net if United want to penetrate the top-four.

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