Anthony Martial has explained why he admires Jose Mourinho as a manager, noting that the Portuguese pushes every player hard for the right reasons.
The Frenchman struggled during his opening campaign under Mourinho, who questioned the youngster’s attitude on the pitch at times.
But the contrast could not be starker this season, with the youngster producing a litany of scintillating performances out wide and claiming consecutive ‘Player of the Month’ awards as a result.
Speaking to Premier League TV, Martial explained how he initially struggled to deal with Mourinho’s managerial style but noted that he now completely trusts him.
“He’s hard with all of us and he is hard with me, there is no question,” he said. “But I know that it’s for my benefit. But I also know that he really likes me as a person, so there’s no issue about the discipline being for the wrong reasons.”
“But the objective, of course, is to have all of us in good condition, and being fit to play every match and that is what I’m hoping to do.
“At the beginning we didn’t know each other too well, but over time we have got to know each other better. He knows my strengths and my weaknesses, such as they are, but the outcome is that we are learning to give everything in the right way.”
Martial, like all youngsters, needs to feel as if his manager understands and respects him, and perhaps this wasn’t the case for large parts of last season.
Mourinho can be ruthless and quite nasty when he needs to be, I’m sure, but his intentions are always directed towards the pitch.
Nonetheless, history dictates that players in the past have conflated this serial winning mentality – the will to do absolutely anything, regardless of its collateral effect, in pursuit of victory – with malice, or perhaps even a kind of personal vendetta.
And yet, as Martial himself attests, the mindset implanted by Mourinho is geared towards what any player at the highest level wants: to win, win, and win again. And Martial has been a living example of that exact attitude so far this term.