Jose Mourinho has warned underperforming striker Anthony Martial that his chances at Manchester United are running out.
Martial was in the United starting line-up for the visit of Arsenal last weekend but he was not even named amongst the substitutes for the Red Devils’ midweek clash against Feyenoord in the UEFA Europe League with Mourinho admitting the Frenchman is under growing threat from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who excelled on his first start for after nearly two months and United’s other wide players.
The 20-year-old former Monaco forward joined Manchester United in a deal from Monaco last year that could eventually reach £58m and was one of the few bright spots at Old Trafford during an underwhelming final season under Van Gaal. The Frenchman scored a whopping 17 goals in his first season with the Red Devils but has netted only twice so far in this term.
When asked about the 20-year-old Frenchman’s omission from the squad Mourinho confirmed Martial had not been injured and was omitted from the squad due to performance issues.
“players…have to win their positions,” he said. “He was okay for the game, it was just an option. “He played on Saturday (in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal) and I cannot play with 12 players. I cannot have, (with those) on the bench, 19 or 20.”
Mourinho also believes Martial is having difficulty adapting to his more intense demands and said: “The way the team played last season – and I’m not saying better or worse, just different – was probably more adapted to Anthony.
“Probably he was feeling more comfortable playing that way, at that intensity, at that rhythm of the ball possession and ball circulation. So probably he needs also some time.
“But in our squad, for these positions, we have Mkhitaryan, Jesse Lingard, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Martial. These are probably the positions where we have more options.”
Manchester United will face West Ham United this weekend and will hope to break the deadlock of their successive two home draws which they faced against Burnley and Arsenal.