Martial provided the assist for Juan Mata‘s opener before scoring himself to give Manchester United a comfortable 2-0 lead and it was a massive goal for him given how tough the last couple of months have been with Jose Mourinho challenging him to improve.
Speaking about Martial, Ibrahimovic offered some insight into the Frenchman’s approach to training and how his persona isn’t indicative of a man who isolates himself from his teammates at all.
“When he plays, he is playing well,” Ibrahimovic said.
“He isn’t a guy that speaks a lot; he is quiet and very professional. He always tries to do his best, trains hard and that is paying off, just like in this match.
“I think it depends on every individual and what kind of person they are and their approach, how open he is. It is different for every person. He is not going around with his head down. He is training hard, he gives a lot of energy and he wants to play, which is normal.
“When we eat breakfast and he is beside me or if he passes me, we talk. I think everyone talks to everyone. It is not like you try to cheer him up; it is a good atmosphere and the guys are all good guys, very professional.”
Martial has been approaching this adversity with the same, professional approach that Henrikh Mkhitaryan did. There’s been no negative comments to the press and no signs of dissent – instead, Martial has kept his head down and worked even harder. It’s exactly what Mourinho would have wanted to see and it’s paid off for him.
There have been some standout games from Martial this season like Middlesbrough at home or the second half against Wigan but that full performance in the 2-0 win over Watford was probably the best. That being said, Ibrahimovic knows there is more to come from Martial.
When speaking about Martial’s performance against Watford, Ibrahimovic added: “He was creating good chances. I felt he tired in the second half because he was running a lot and he hasn’t played every game, but he played well. He scored a nice goal and it’s good for him and his confidence and the team.”
Martial is somebody who has the world at his feet in footballing terms. He’s a prodigious talent, is part of an exciting and upcoming side at both club and country level and is one of the most exciting youngsters in world football. But not just that, he has got the right attitude to make the most of it as well and that’s what fills me with the most excitement.
There are so many youngsters who have everything needed to succeed in terms of footballing talent but they fail with their attitude. Martial doesn’t look like he’s going to fall into that category and as time goes on this season I expect to see him get back to his best form.