Martial endured a largely torrid 2016/17 season, unable to recreate the attacking zeal that hallmarked his debut campaign at Old Trafford, and started less than half of Man United’s Premier League games as a result.
But he has made a rip-roaring start to the new campaign, producing penetrative, clinical performances from the bench during what has been a tantalising battle with Marcus Rashford for a place on the left hand side.
And Mourinho, speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Southampton, was quick to heap praise on the way Martial has conducted himself over the last few weeks.
“I see a great improvement in the person, in the moods, in the face and body language,” he said.
“If we want a word: happiness. He is a happy guy. He is working extremely well, he starts matches and tries to do well. He goes from the bench even if for ten minutes like in the last match at home, he tries to enjoy and to give something in the extra minutes.
“I am very pleased with his attitude overall, and then it is easier to play well.”
Mourinho uses the word “happiness” to sum up Martial’s attitude this season and I wouldn’t disagree.
But I think a more accurate description of the Frenchman’s persona so far would be “lethal”. He has been utterly ruthless, coming into games and ripping knackered opponents to shreds and adding gloss to United’s results.
Last season he was indecisive, almost as if an array of doubts were going through his mind whenever he received the ball. It was tentative, plagued with uncertainty and, as a result, largely predictable.
This time around, however, Martial has a renewed impulse to throw himself forward, regardless of consequence, and the end result is a sight to behold.