Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has attempted to fire up Anthony Martial ahead of the Europa League quarterfinal second leg against Anderlecht by urging the striker to “give me things I like.”
But this, Mourinho’s first year in charge, has been a frustrating one for both manager and player with Martial scoring just three times in 18 English Premier League appearances so far in 2016-17.
Martial was not in United’s squad for the 2-0 victory over Mourinho’s former club Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday—perhaps the tactical apogee of a stuttering first campaign for the Portuguese player in England’s northwest.
“We are together for almost 10 months. The same way I know the players much better now, the players should know me much better. The same way I know what the players like, the players know what I like. The same way I have to go in the direction of the players, the players have to come in my direction,” Mourinho told reporters including The Guardian before Thursday evening’s game at Old Trafford.
“Do I think Anthony is a player with great potential? Yes, I think. Do I think he can play successfully for me? Yes I think. But he needs to give me things that I like.”
United carries a slight advantage into the home leg of the quarterfinal, after scoring an away goal in the 1-1 draw seven days ago at Constant Vanden Stock stadium. The piquancy of the occasion is sharpened by the promise of Champions League football next season for the winner of the Europa League.