Manchester United fans were pleased with Anthony Martial‘s performance against Fenerbahce, despite seeing their side succumb to a galling 2-1 defeat in Istanbul.
The Frenchman, reintroduced to the starting XI after recovering from a foot injury, was the central – and perhaps only – driving force going forward against Dick Advocaat’s side, making a series of powerful runs and shrewd passes.
Man United fans were quick to register Martial’s positive impact on an otherwise gloomy encounter for Mourinho’s men.
So annoyed that Martial didn't get the assist he deserved there
— Paul (@NQATPaul) November 3, 2016
Martial looking the most dangerous,while Rashford looks ineffective,Mkhitaryan & Mata on & Rashford & Rooney off
— L Grant (@LGrant534) November 3, 2016
Martial been our best player. Darmian also been one of the better ones.
— KingMani🎨 (@ffsManiJ) November 3, 2016
Well. That was shit. Rooney has been woeful. Martial has been lively though. Get Mata on for Rooney.
— Scott P (@scotp09) November 3, 2016
In a game that saw United take another step in the wrong direction, Martial took his first real step forward this season. It is no secret that the 20-year-old, up to this point, had struggled to fulfil the demands placed on a left-winger by Mourinho. Tonight was different, however. Suddenly the youngster looked composed and driven, bursting forward and linking up with teammates.
Above anything, Martial is at his irresistible best when bursting down the outside, and Mourinho’s sudden emphasis on a more inverted role – which prioritises cutting inside and linking up with teammates – clearly precluded the Frenchman from realising his true potential during the early stages of the campaign.
His performance in Istanbul, however, was symbolic of someone quickly beginning to master this new role.