Jose Mourinho: Bench role for Anthony Martial

Premier League
Jose Mourinho: Bench role for Anthony Martial

Jose Mourinho only saw enough from Anthony Martial at the weekend to name the forward on the Manchester United bench against Hull tonight.

An impressive maiden season at Old Trafford has been following by a frustrating second campaign for the 21-year-old attacker.

Martial has netted six goals in 22 appearances since Jose Mourinho’s arrival and the United boss has not been afraid to leave him out of the squad, never mind the starting line-up, at times.

Questions over the player’s happiness increased after recently being omitted from the league match at Stoke and EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Hull, but the France international got a chance to shine from the outset against Wigan on Sunday.

Martial was moved out wide after an ineffectual first period through the middle in what proved a comfortable FA Cup fourth-round victory, setting up two of the goals in a 4-0 win at Old Trafford.

Mourinho had said playing “magnificently” against the Latics would mean the forward retains his place tonight, but the United boss only saw “enough to be on the bench” against Hull.

“He has to perform better than the others who are competing for the same positions (if he wants to start),” the Portuguese said.

“His position is one where we have lots of options. Do you want me to leave (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan out after being man of the match and playing so well as he did? I can’t.

“The players pick themselves. I am just there to analyse what they do and try to be fair with them. Such a good performance, Mkhitaryan has to play tomorrow. Simple.”

Mkhitaryan is to be joined in the starting line-up against Hull by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, David de Gea and Antonio Valencia.

Eric Bailly, back from the African Nations Cup, is also available for a match that Ashley Young will be involved in after a deadline-day exit was ruled out.

Meanwhile, Hull midfielder Ryan Mason admits he feels lucky to be alive after his horror head injury.

The 25-year-old fractured his skull against Chelsea earlier this month and spent eight days in hospital before being released on Monday.

Mason had been at St Mary’s Hospital in London after undergoing surgery following a clash of heads with Gary Cahill in the first half of the Tigers’ 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on January 22.

In a statement, Mason wrote: “It has been an emotional rollercoaster and I feel lucky to be alive, but I’m happy to say I’m now at home resting and recovering.

“I will now be taking each day as it comes and concentrating on my recovery.”

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