Anthony Martial was a hot topic during Erik ten Hag’s press conference ahead of the Nottingham Forest match, with the manager confident in the Frenchman’s abilities up front.
“He’s best as a centre-forward but I think he can play in more positions.”
When pressed about the player’s ability to stay fit in the long term, Ten Hag seemed unsure.
“Look, it’s difficult to say because the history shows different, but I want him to be because he’s a great player. He definitely has the qualities to play top football. When he’s fit, our team plays better.”
The manager did say that he saw Martial at the club next season, but only with the qualifier “From my point of view.”
Ten Hag was also asked about leadership in his squad, and he was quick to point out that the Red Devils have a number in the squad, but more are always welcome.
“Look, the team needs more leaders. You need a group of leaders. Those are two but we have more, also Varane, also Casemiro, also David De Gea, and also Martinez has developed really well in that perspective, so we have more.
“They deal with it through togetherness. So one is on the bench, and we accept it as the way it is. They respect each other and they come through with togetherness. I think it works out so far.”
In referencing Harry Maguire, the Dutchman seemed to suggest that the club captain was in line to start against Forest.
That has been made a virtual necessity due to injuries, something Ten Hag was also pressed on, given United’s current state of crisis in that regard.
“Of course, you always want to play your best eleven, especially when you go to the final stages and when they are not available others have to do it. And I think we prove when they are not there. Last week, we were discussing who is going to score the goals. Marcel Sabizter scored two yesterday.
“We talked a lot about Casemiro. Can the team play without Casemiro? But we proved against Brentford and against Everton that we can also play without Casemiro and win difficult and important games.
“We have to deal with it, and we will do and that is now also the case that when he’s dropping out, always, we have to take over and take responsibility.”
With bothe Newcastle and Tottenham dropping points on Saturday, it is imperative that Manchester United rise to the challenge to take full advantage in the race for Champions League football.
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