Jose Mourinho says having a rejuvenated Anthony Martial at Manchester United is like a new player arriving in his squad.
As has been the case for several first-team stars at Old Trafford this season, Martial’s performances have drawn public criticism from Mourinho in recent weeks.
After the France international failed to make the bench for last weekend’s win over Premier League leaders Chelsea, Mourinho said of Martial: “He needs to give me things that I like.”
The France international responded in style, scoring the opener in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Burnley, before laying on an assist for captain Wayne Rooney and, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini and Luke Shaw have found of late, Martial’s return to form would also draw praise from the manager.
“He has to understand what we need from him, but it’s not just for us but it’s also for him,” Mourinho said of the Frenchman.
“If he wants to become a very special player – [and] he can do that – then he has to go in a certain direction and he showed this attitude and appetite. We are happy because we have a new player until the end of the season.”
April’s schedule is a hectic one for United, with nine games landing in the space of a month.
Having advanced to the Europa League semi-finals, where Celta Vigo await, United’s next task is Thursday’s Manchester Derby against City – a game that could prove pivotal in the battle for a top-four spot.
However, Mourinho remains steadfast in his recent opinion that winning the Europa League is United’s best chance of Champions League qualification and hinted that – as against Chelsea – he could rest key players at the Etihad Stadium.
“If we beat Celta Vigo in the semi-final, we go to the final,” he said.
“Yes, it is important for us to play in the Champions League, but this club wants trophies. We cannot give the club the Premier League trophy, but we have a 25 percent chance to win the Europa League.
“I will rotate the players again to give some players a chance again.”