Jose Mourinho has improved Anthony Martial at Manchester United. The Frenchman has become a more completed player, improving in both attack and defence.
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Premier League football returns this weekend and both Anthony Martial and Jose Mourinho will hope the young French forward can continue his red hot form. In his previous 5 Premier League appearances Martial has 6 goals, including an impressive double against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. In his time as Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho has never started Anthony Martial in 7 consecutive Premier League games before but everyone will expect this to come to an end when Crystal Palace visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
But how has Martial, a player who seemed destined for the door in the summer, now so integral to Jose Mourinho and Manchester United? Simply put, Jose Mourinho has moulded Martial into a winger he can rely on. The Frenchman’s defensive output is at an all time high in terms of sprints and distance covered per game, not to mention already making the same number of clearances as he managed in the whole of last season. Now that Martial is starting to offer Mourinho defensive work rate, the Portuguese tactician is now happy to offer the former Golden Boy winner the freedom to play his game.
The difference in Martial from his first start of the season against Brighton to his performance away at Juventus in Turin is stark. Against Brighton Martial was especially lazy, either too safe or wasteful in possession and non-existent in defence, it was a performance to forget. But against Juventus, you’d be forgiven for thinking United had signed a new number 11. Martial tracked Juventus right back, Mattia De Sciglio, all night, giving the Italian nothing in attack. It wasn’t much easier in defence for the full back either. Martial completed three times as many dribbles against Juventus in Turin as he managed in Brighton. Good dribbling stats are something that you expect from Martial, what is unexpected however was the improvement to his passing. Martial completed nearly three times as many passes against Juventus than he managed against Brighton but against Brighton only one of his successful passes were forward. Against Juventus all but one of his passes were forward.
The difference in just two months is striking. Jose Mourinho and Anthony Martial seem to have clicked and the young French forward is producing his best performances in a United shirt.