Jose Mourinho has revealed he told Anthony Martial to attack with the ball at his feet ahead of the Frenchman’s decisive cameo during Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Following a languid first half, the hosts started to make attacking inroads and Mourinho, to supplement the dynamic, threw on Martial with 20 minutes left.
And the 21-year-old provided yet another decisive touch late on, latching onto Romelu Lukaku’s header and sending the ball past Hugo Lloris to net his sixth goal of the season.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho revealed how he gave Martial a set of particular instructions that rivalled Marcus Rashford‘s style.
“Same position as Marcus, but he’s more comfortable than Marcus dropping in between the lines,” he said.
“Having the ball and have the ball and not just try to attack space. And I was telling him to do that.
“But, at the same time, to play from Lukaku against three very good central defenders but against three central defenders who had a hard match against Lukaku and Rashford.
“So he comes, and okay, probably a lucky shot but the movement is good, the desire is good and the goal is the goal that gets us two more points than the 0-0.”
Rashford is generally preferred as a starter in games because his approach aligns better with the Premier League’s vicious approach.
And it was the 19-year-old, more than anybody, who offered the cut and thrust for the hosts going forward, always searching for a gap in behind Tottenham’s back four.
But with the game reaching an impasse, Mourinho needed something different out wide in the form of Martial – a player whose style stresses intricacy and slickness over pure aggression.
Needless to say, it worked perfectly, with Martial adding the touch of subtlety and execution needed to decide a scrappy encounter.