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Thursday 26 April 2018

Martial rules in Mourinho's eyes as he takes massive stride forward in his form

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and Anthony Martial. Photo: PA
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and Anthony Martial. Photo: PA

In-form Manchester United winger Anthony Martial has taken a big stride forward this term in the eyes of boss Jose Mourinho.

Martial has scored in each of United's past three Premier League games, netting the winner against Burnley by clinically firing home at the start of the second half after his team had failed to register a single shot on target in the first period.

Important

The Frenchman, 22, now has 11 goals for the season, three more than he managed across all of last term, and is becoming increasingly important for Mourinho on the left-hand side of his attack.

"We know the talent," Mourinho said. "It's just about consistency, and not just consistency in the goals he scores but also consistency in the way he plays overall.

"But (there are) no doubts that from last season to this season (there has been) a great improvement from Anthony and we need that."

Martial's current form would suggest the incoming Alexis Sanchez may be stationed on the opposite flank should he arrive, with Romelu Lukaku remaining the central striker.

It was Lukaku who held the ball up on halfway and rolled in Martial for his goal at Turf Moor and Mourinho was quick to highlight his contribution.

"That was amazing," he said. "But sometimes people look at strikers and analyse just the number of goals, and it's not fair because (Lukaku) is a team player and the quality, the vision, the pass to make Martial face the one against one was fantastic."

Lukaku and Martial linked up for the moment that consigned Burnley to a fourth successive defeat in 2018, with Sean Dyche's side winless in all competitions since December 12 when a victory over Stoke temporarily moved them into the Champions League qualification places.

Despite their run since, the Clarets are still eighth in the Premier League table and Dyche has taken heart from performances in recent weeks where they have faced United, twice, Tottenham and Liverpool in the division.

Awkward

"If you look at the stats you can clearly see there's a gap between the top six, who almost none have had an awkward run," he said.

"Every single club outside of that top six has had a tough run at some stage or another. That clearly defines the league.

"When we perform like that against some of these superpower clubs, then I'm very, very pleased with how far we've come as a team. I think we continue to move forward, including that performance.

"Results are hard to come by but you can't always measure everything on a result, not as a manager."

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