‘Hap­pi­ness’ is key to Mar­tial’s United form

Mour­inho sees big im­prove­ment in the mood and body lan­guage of the striker

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SOCCER - JAMIE JACK­SON

Southamp­ton v Manch­ester Utd St Mary’s, to­day, 3.0pm Sky Sports Jose Mour­inho be­lieves An­thony Mar­tial’s im­pres­sive start to the sea­son is be­cause the Manch­ester United for­ward is far hap­pier than he was last year.

The 21-year-old has scored four times in seven ap­pear­ances this term, half of his over­all to­tal of eight in 2016-17. Mar­tial has man­aged the tally de­spite start­ing only three times.

“I see a great im­prove­ment in the per­son, in the mood, in the face, in the body lan­guage if you want just a word, in the hap­pi­ness,” Mour­inho said of the French­man’s re­turn to form.

“(Mar­tial) is a happy guy, he’s work­ing ex­tremely well. He starts matches, he tries to do well. (If) he goes from the bench, even it is for 10 min­utes like in the last (league) match at home, he tries to en­joy and to give some­thing in these ex­tra min­utes.

“I am very pleased with his at­ti­tude over­all and then it’s eas­ier to play well.”

Ear­lier this week, anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion Kick It Out wrote to Manch­ester United, urg­ing them to stop sup­port­ers singing a chant that makes ref­er­ence to the size of Romelu Lukaku’s pe­nis, on the ba­sis that it re­in­forces racist stereo­types. Lukaku has sub­se­quently asked fans to “move on” from the chant, via the club’s of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count.

Mour­inho sidestepped the is­sue at his pre-match press con­fer­ence, pre­fer­ring to fo­cus on Satur­day’s visit to Southamp­ton.

“Don’t ask me these ques­tions. I want the fans to sup­port the foot­ball and to sup­port the play­ers. That’s what I want,” the Manch­ester United man­ager said.

Full of praise

United travel to St. Mary’s for their sixth league match of the sea­son - and first to kick off at 3pm on Satur­day. Mauri­cio Pel­le­grino’s side are in ninth po­si­tion with eight points, five be­hind Mour­inho’s team who are joint-top of the ta­ble with neigh­bours Manch­ester City.

Mean­while, for­mer Southamp­ton star Luke Shaw “has to im­prove” to get into United’s start­ing line-up, but Mour­inho is stay­ing pa­tient as the left-back re­turns from his lat­est in­jury lay-off.

Mour­inho was full of praise for the south coast side, who were de­feated in Fe­bru­ary’s EFL Cup fi­nal to earn Mour­inho’s first ma­jor tro­phy as Manch­ester United man­ager.

“Southamp­ton is the kind of club that are very sta­ble in the way they play and in the way they see foot­ball, the qual­i­ties of their play­ers. Hon­estly, I think it’s a very good club to be man­ager of. And I see the match to­mor­row as a very dif­fi­cult match.”

An­thony Mar­tial: has scored four times in seven ap­pear­ances this sea­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.