Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has criticised Jose Mourinho for his treatment of Anthony Martial this season, questioning the way he changed the Frenchman’s role in the side.
The 20-year-old, following a groundbreaking opening campaign under Louis van Gaal, endured a less fruitful nine months under Mourinho, who publicly questioned the youngster’s attitude and goalscoring record.
But Petit, speaking on talkSPORT, was less than complimentary over the way his fellow countryman has been treated at Old Trafford in recent times.
“Martial was very good the first months with Manchester United and since Mourinho has managed the team he’s not in the same position anymore. It’s a risk,” he said.
“Talent is something very important in football but you need to have confidence as well from team-mates and your manager.
“You have to be tough and strong in your mind.”
In hindsight, this Martial dilemma was somewhat predictable. Successfully following up an explosive debut campaign is something that, as history dictates, most youngsters never do, and the sight of Martial not having his usual influence under Mourinho naturally draws accusations stating that the Portuguese is ‘ruining’ him.
Some perspective is needed, I think: Josh Harrop, for example, who had supporters salivating over his debut display against Crystal Palace, is actually older than Martial.
We often forget that, at the age of 20, there is still a lot of learning that needs to be done, and nothing official has ever pointed towards anything other than Martial and Mourinho enjoying a productive working relationship at United, which looks set to continue into pre-season.