Jose Mourinho has revealed Anthony Martial’s determination behind the scenes in training earned him the right to start in Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Watford.
The France international set up Juan Mata’s opener before going solo to score the second-half clincher as the Reds picked up three points at Old Trafford.
Martial gave former Reds defender Craig Cathcart a torrid time with his pace and direct approach and his selection rubbished media reports that the Frenchman was out of favour with the United manager.
“I’m happy with Anthony’s last two weeks of work,” Mourinho told MUTV. “The way he faced the work, hard work, with more concentration and more determination.
“That’s why I gave him this gift, to start this game. Normally, after Leicester, I’d start with the same players and keep Marcus [Rashford] in the team. I just felt Marcus doesn’t need a boost because he’s playing all the time. Anthony was maybe feeling a little bit down and needed a gift. He answered in the best way.”
Martial’s performance ensured he was the comfortable winner of United’s Man-of-the-Match award as he collected 72 per cent of the votes on Twitter.
In the post-match press conference, Mourinho elaborated on the situation regarding the popular Frenchman. “The Anthony Martial I want is the Martial of the last two weeks of training. If he trains the way he did in the past two weeks, he performs naturally the way he did today – or better.
“I think he is still missing a bit of his confidence. I kept shouting at him to attack the defender and go to the one-on-one as he needs that confidence but he’s working very well. Anthony needs to feel that I am looking at him and that I know what he did in training and the effort he put in. So I gave him his chance and he played well. He had a good game for me.”