Have regularly played injured over last two seasons but people don’t know, admits Anthony Martial
Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has hit out at former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and revealed that he has regularly played injured, including the post-COVID season. The Frenchman also touched upon his relationship with Jose Mourinho and added that the Portuguese boss disrespected him.
Despite his struggles to find the net over the last few years for Manchester United, Anthony Martial enjoyed a period where he was thriving for the Red Devils. That was during the 2019/20 season as the Frenchman did very well in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full-term at the club, netting 23 goals and 12 assists in the process. However, his form dipped almost alarmingly the very next season as Martial finished with just 7 goals and 9 assists across all competitions.
It worried fans and critics alike although the presence of Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, and a few other options meant that United didn’t suffer that much. However, Martial has now revealed that he played through injury during that spell and has regularly done so over the last two seasons. Not only that, the forward hit out at Solskjear and admitted that he only did it because the Norwegian asked.
“The last two seasons, I have regularly played injured. People don’t know that I couldn’t accelerate during the four months following the Covid season. Solskjaer tells me that he needs me, so I play. Given my game, if I can’t accelerate, it becomes very complicated. And I get criticized — the coach never bothered to tell the media,” Martial said, reported the Athletic.
“Obviously, I end up getting injured for good and when I come back, finished, I don’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 you are dismissed. For me, it’s almost treachery. That’s all I hate. I can be blamed, but not for being fake.”
Martial signed for the Old Trafford side in the summer of 2015, enjoying a superb debut term under then-manager Louis van Gaal. However, the Dutchman was sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho at the end of the season and the Frenchman’s relationship with the Portuguese boss was never great. It saw Martial confess that it all started with the change of his number from 9 to 11, which Mourinho forced upon him, and was further exacerbated by the fact that United signed Alexis Sanchez.
“It started with the story of the shirt number. During the holidays, he sends me a message to ask me if I want to take 11, explaining to me that it’s great because it was worn by the legend, Ryan Giggs. I tell him that I have the greatest respect for Giggs, but that I prefer to keep my number nine. When I return to the club, I see my jersey with the number 11, the story did not start well! He disrespected me, straight up.
“He (Mourinho) was talking about me in the press. He likes these games, but he also knows who he is doing it with. He knows that I am 20 years old then and that if I say something, it is I who will be the young person who lacks respect. In the second season (at United), I was the team’s top scorer in the first part of the season, he (Mourinho) brought in Alexis Sanchez and I hardly played anymore. It cost me dearly. I should have been there (2018 World Cup),” he added.