• Martial needs to follow Marcus Rashford’s example, says United manager
• Forward, 21, must work harder and ‘give me things I like’
José Mourinho has warned Anthony Martial he needs to learn from the example of Marcus Rashford and improve his attitude if he wants to find a way back into Manchester United’s first-team plans.
The 21-year-old was not even among the substitutes for United’s 2-0 defeat of Chelsea at the weekend and there is no guarantee he will return when England’s last representatives in Europe take on Anderlecht in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Martial’s next goal, his 25th for United, will cost the club another £8.5m as part of the structured transfer fee that saw him sign from Monaco for £36m, potentially rising to £58m, in September 2015. However, it is also increasingly clear Mourinho has expected more from the Frenchman during a season when United’s manager has repeatedly questioned the player’s contribution.
Mourinho was asked whether Martial’s absence on Sunday was a sign the manager was still dissatisfied and, choosing his words carefully, he made it clear he expected the player to be working harder.
“We are together for almost 10 months. The same way I know the players much better now, the players should know me much better. The same way I know what the players like, the players know what I like. The same way I have to go in the direction of the players, the players have to come in my direction.
“That’s the point. That’s why Marcus Rashford, even without scoring goals, even with being since September without a goal in the Premier League, was always a player I trusted, I played, I supported because he was always coming in my direction, in the direction I want from a player and what I want as a Manchester United player. He [Rashford] is about that.
“Do I think Anthony is a player with great potential? Yes, I think. Do I think he can play successfully for me? Yes I think. But he needs to give me things that I like.”
United go into the match as strong favourites after their 1-1 draw in Brussels and having produced their best performance of the season against Chelsea. However, Mourinho’s dissatisfaction did not just stop with Martial, pointedly answering one question about Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a way that made it apparent he had expected more from the midfielder in the Premier League. Asked what he made of Mkhitaryan’s first season, Mourinho was not entirely effusive. “Good, in the Europa League,” he said. “In the Europa League.”