Solskjaer admits Martial confidence was "bruised" from early season incident

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Anthony Martial is finally over the acrimonious fallout from his red card against Tottenham at Old Trafford.

Martial was dismissed early in the 6-1 defeat at the start of October and has struggled for form and consistency since.

That has led to increased scrutiny on the 25-year-old Frenchman, who has managed only one Premier League goal this season.

But Solskjaer remains a big believer in Martial and has been urging him to up his running statistics and make them count.

“Anthony has made some important contributions lately,” Solskjaer said. “Assists, scores goal and is getting fitter.

Solskjaer admitted Martial had been affected by his red card against Tottenham
Solskjaer admitted Martial had been affected by his red card against Tottenham

“He knows I am on to him. His running stats against Leeds set a new standard I want him to build on.”

But the crucial factor in Martial’s improving from is that he appears to have his self-belief back.

“Maybe his confidence had been bruised by what happened,” explained Solskjaer, referring to the dismissal against Spurs. “And he has had to take some criticism. But I am delighted with him and he is going to get better.”

Martial played a key role in United’s Carabao Cup quarter-final win at Everton, providing the assist for Edinson Cavani’s late breakthrough and putting the icing on the cake with a second goal with the last kick of the game.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have missed out on Jadon Sancho in the summer, but he still made some big moves in the transfer market with Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani all arriving.

But their start to the season has been a mixed bag, with a home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 6-1 thrashing by Spurs at one end of the scale, and a tremendous 2-1 win over PSG in Paris at the other.

The question now is whether they can find the right balance?

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But Solskjaer insists there is plenty more to come from Martial … and Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

“When those three are firing on all cylinders, we’ll have a bigger threat,” Solskjaer insisted.

Right now, though, there are few teams who carry a threat quite like United’s, especially on the road.

Including cup competitions, they have now recorded 13 consecutive wins in away matches against top-flight opponents.

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The French striker scoring United's second against Everton on Wednesday
The French striker scoring United’s second against Everton on Wednesday

“We go into every single game believing we can win it,” said Solskjaer, who could not disguise his annoyance at having to travel to Leicester for a 12.30 Saturday kick-off after the Wednesday night engagement at Goodison Park.

But the United manager does have plenty of selection options, having made nine changes for the midweek victory over Everton.

Cavani was outstanding at Goodison Park but might still have to settle for a place on the bench as Solskjaer reverts to the starting line-up that trounced Leeds last Sunday.

A few players have niggles with Scott McTominay probably the biggest doubt after being substituted against Leeds with what looked like a groin problem.


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