Jose Mourinho was full of praise for Anthony Martial after the Frenchman starred during Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Burton Albion in the League Cup.
The visitors sat back to avoid players exploiting space in behind and Martial, in turn, terrorised their back four with an array of darting runs and mesmerising turns in the first half, providing a sumptuous assist for Jesse Lingard after 36 minutes.
He continually opened up Burton’s right hand side and eventually claimed a deserved goal – his fourth of the season – following Marcus Rashford‘s ball after 60 minutes.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to laud the 21-year-old’s desire and innovation going forward against the Championship side.
“Some of them he did amazingly well, others not so well. But he was always trying and that commitment and happiness on the pitch are always important.
The Portuguese makes an important point here: that Martial, whether successful or not, was always trying to make a direct impact.
Martial would have spells last season where he wouldn’t even reach this threshold. That intangible impulse to spring to life once the ball reached his feet just wasn’t there.
But Burton were the latest side to feel the full force of Martial’s effervescent brilliance and we can safely assume, I think, that they won’t be the last this season.