Jose Mourinho has insisted that Antony Martial will need more time to acclimatise to his managerial methods at Manchester United this season.
The Frenchman enjoyed a sensational debut campaign under Louis van Gaal, netting 17 goals and dazzling supporters with a series of emphatic displays on the left hand side.
But Martial, following a disappointing Euro 2016, has struggled to find his feet under Mourinho, managing just four goals in 17 appearances.
Mourinho, speaking after Man United’s 3-1 win over Sunderland, explained that the 21-year-old will need time to adjust at Old Trafford this season.
“Anthony I think, very young, as a start, very young, people forget that he is very young,” he said.
“Last season, Manchester United was playing completely different, completely different than we do today. He was basically playing up front, the team had lots of basic ball possession, waiting just for a moment to put the ball in the space for Anthony to go and score a goal.
“This season it is more difficult. This season is more difficult, he needs a little bit of time to improve I think.”
It is no secret that van Gaal’s gloomy, frustratingly patient attacking approach left most United players in a state of dilapidation. Martial, however, managed to benefit from the Dutchman’s emphasis on engineering space out wide through ball retention. He would often receive the ball near the byline, with plenty of space to exploit – a rare positive that emanated from van Gaal’s ultimately sapping system.
Under Mourinho, things are different: United are more direct, more instinctive. They create space with sheer aggression and power going forward, as opposed to making 40 sideways passes. This is, needless to say, a pretty major tactical change, and Martial will need time to find his feet.