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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Fergie: Martial key to Premier success

Ex-manager believes Van Gaal can lift title

Anthony Martial
Anthony Martial
Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson

Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United can win the title - but insists Anthony Martial will be key.

United sit third in the Premier League table after eight games two points behind leaders Manchester City.

Louis van Gaal's side face a difficult run with four of their next six league games away from Old Trafford starting with a trip to Goodison Park on play Everton on Saturday.

Despite United's 3-0 defeat at Arsenal Ferguson insists his former team are capable of lifting their first title since 2013.

And the 73-year-old insists that if they can stay in the hunt until the new year, they'll have a chance.

He said: "It's that kind of league, anyone can win it now.

"Leicester are the most consistent, they've only lost one game. If we get to New Year up near the top, we'll have a good chance."

Battle

Ferguson accepts Van Gaal is facing an uphill battle to get his team to gel after signing 12 new players over the last two summers.

But he says if Anthony Martial can have the same impact as Dwight Yorke did in his first season United will get close.

Yorke scored 29 goals in 51 games in 1998/99 following his move from Aston Villa as United won the treble.

Ferguson added: "He has certainly made a lot of changes and he's bought new players this year and, I think, five or six new players the year before.

"That takes time and it's not easy. Coming to Manchester United, you do need time. In my time, there was maybe Dwight Yorke who gave an immediate response. He was fantastic from day one.

"They are not always like that, he was an exception. It normally takes some time, particularly if they come from abroad, to settle in.

Ferguson added: "The boy Anthony Martial, he can be anything. What I like about the boy is that he doesn't panic. I don't think you can teach that."

Martial, meanwhile, insists he's not feeling the pressure despite his whirlwind start to the season.

The 19-year-old became the most expensive teenager in the world when completing a £36m deadline day move to United last month. And the former Monaco striker is emerging as a potential star of France's Euro 2016 campaign after being called up by Didier Deschamps for his country's last four internationals.

But Martial insists he is taking his rapid rise in his stride.

"Playing for France is a childhood dream come true so I'm simply trying to enjoy it as much as possible," he said.

"I have no pressure. The coach tells me to play my game, not to put any particular pressure on myself, and that's what I try to do."

Martial has lit up United's attack with scored four goals in seven appearances since his move to Old Trafford.

Deschamps believes he can have a similar impact for France: "I think Martial is best suited as a lone striker. Anthony has the capacity to play in both roles. He has quality with his pace and his ability to go past the opponent and that brings a bit of variety to our game."

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