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Anthony Martial demands more minutes on the pitch from Jose Mourinho

by Leo Nieboer

Anthony Martial has told Jose Mourinho that he wants to start more games at Manchester United this season.

The Frenchman, following a muted 2016/17 campaign, has been an effervescent force over the last few months, claiming six goals and five assists in all competitions.

But he has been largely reduced to the bench, making just eight starts in the 16 games he has featured in this season.

And Martial, speaking in an interview with SFR Sport, noted that he would prefer a more recurrent role in the starting XI.

“It’s easier to start the game,” he said.

“When you come off the bench, the other players are warmed up, they’re totally in the game, and you have to get into it straight away. I prefer to start the game, I have more time to get myself into the game.

“I have faith in my qualities, and I think the manager has confidence in me, too, so it’s up to me to continue putting in good performances, and if I do that, I think I’ll play a bit more.

“We all prefer to play, even if at United when I come off the bench, I make a difference. I prefer to start games and show what I’m capable of.

“When you score and you’re a forward, you’re happy. It’s going well. Even though I’m a substitute, I play often.

“I’ve played three, two games in the Champions League, I play one game in two. It’s going well. I’d like to play more — that’s going to come through my performances.”

The Frenchman has every right to feel as if Mourinho should reserve a place in the starting XI for him after claiming consecutive ‘Player of the Month’ awards at Man United.

And yet, at the same time, the current model being employed by the 54-year-old makes sense. While Martial has been a ruthless, blood-letting influence out wide, his manager has continued to stick with the more traditional cut and thrust offered by Marcus Rashford when it comes to breaking down Premier League sides, and you can hardly say that the 20-year-old has underwhelmed.

So Martial will have to show Mourinho, in one way or another, an ability to not just rip past opponents but wear them down in the process, pulling them out of position to give others a chance to impose themselves.

For now, however, his best moments have come from the bench, and Mourinho is likely to keep it that way.

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