Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has blasted former managers Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in an explosive interview.
Martial’s career at Manchester United has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. He burst onto the scene at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ as the club’s top goalscorer in all competitions during Louis van Gaal’s tenure, scoring 17 goals despite being only 20 years old.
And it appeared as if Martial had finally found his place in the number nine role during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full season, when he scored a career-high 23 goals.
However, a difficult second year leading the line eventually led to a chain of events in which Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo came through the door, and Martial was loaned out to Sevilla.
In an in-depth interview with France Football (via GIVEMESPORT), Martial addressed everything from Jose Mourinho’s disrespect to playing while injured under Solskjaer, highlighting how difficult his time at United has been over the years.
Disrespectful Jose Mourinho
“It started with the story of the shirt number. During the holidays, he [Mourinho] sent me a message to ask if I want to change to the No.11, explaining to me that it is great because it was worn by Ryan Giggs, a club legend.
“I tell him that I have the greatest respect for Giggs but I prefer to keep the No.9. When I returned to the club, I see my name with the No.11, the story did not end well. He [Mourinho] lacked direct respect for me.
“He talked about me in the press, little phrases, a bit like he had done with Karim Benzema at Real Madrid. He likes these little games, but he also knows who he is doing it with.
“He knows that I am then 20 years old, that if I say something, it is I who will pass for the young person who lacks respect.
“So I said nothing, it was useless. The following season, I was the best in the team in the first part of the season, he brought in Alexis Sanchez and there I hardly played anymore.
“It’s the season of the World Cup and it cost me dearly, especially since the France team won [the tournament]. I should have been there.”
“I regularly played injured. People don’t know it, I couldn’t accelerate during the four months following the Covid season. The coach tells me he needs me, so I play.
“But, given my game, if I can’t accelerate, it becomes very complicated all the same. And I got set on fire [criticised by fans]… the coach never bothered to tell the media.
“Obviously, I ended up getting injured for good and when I came back, finished, I didn’t play anymore.
“I took it very badly, I had a feeling of injustice, you are asked to sacrifice yourself for the team and behind the scenes you are dismissed. For me, it’s almost treachery. That’s all I hate. I can be blamed, but not for being fake.”
The above are just excerpts from an extraordinary interview by much criticised Anthony Martial. It makes one realise that there is always much more to the story than being portrayed and perhaps as journalists and pundits, the context of the player’s struggles should also be kept in consideration.
Martial had to wait until the 2019/2020 season to retain his preferred number 9 jersey. His career appeared to be stagnant in recent years, but under Erik ten Hag, things started to look better. The France international had a fantastic pre-season, scoring three goals in five appearances, but he suffered a hamstring injury just before the start of the 2022/23 Premier League season.
He made a fantastic return with a match-winning assist against Liverpool in the second half, but he is now out again with an Achilles injury. Martial has since missed four games, but he is expected to return to full training in the coming days. And the Frenchman believes he has a chance to make the World Cup squad.
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