The Frenchman has struggled to replicate the blistering form displayed during his first season at Old Trafford under Mourinho, failing to score in any of his first eight appearances of the 2016/17 campaign.
However, Martial managed to end his dry patch with a spectacular curled effort into the top right hand corner, just two minutes after replacing Jesse Lingard.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho declared the goal as an important moment in the context of Martial’s season.
“He needs that,” said Mourinho.
“Amazing goal, and very good initiative for his confidence, from his personal point of view.”
It is no secret that Martial has struggled with acclimatising to his new, more defensively orientated role under the 53-year-old. Mourinho’s system requires a more balanced type of winger, placing emphasis on standing level with central midfielders and cutting inside. Such an approach doesn’t align with the 20-year-old’s strengths as a winger, and it comes as no surprise that Martial – still young and most certainly still learning – is taking time to adapt.
However, against Stoke, Martial was charged with the simple task of running at the back four with reckless abandon, and within two minutes he delivered, picking up the ball on the left and rampaging towards goal. It was a freer, more devastating attitude that United fans will hope to see more of in the coming months.