Jose lays down the Mar­tial law

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

MANCH­ESTER United man­ager Jose Mour­inho has asked winger An­thony Mar­tial to de­liver more con­sis­tent per­for­mances af­ter the French for­ward daz­zled in a pre-sea­son vic­tory over Real Madrid on Sun­day.

Mar­tial pro­duced an im­pres­sive per­for­mance, in­clud­ing a fine run to set up United’s open­ing goal for Jesse Lin­gard be­fore United de­feated Madrid on penal­ties at the Levi’s Sta­dium in Santa Clara.

Mour­inho said he saw an im­prove­ment in Mar­tial’s work ethic in train­ing ahead of the new cam­paign but the 21-year-old will need to do more on the pitch to im­press him.

“Ob­vi­ously, we want more con­sis­tency in his tal­ent,” Mour­inho told re­porters. “I think (Sun­day) was pos­i­tive for him, that’s why I left him for 90 min­utes on the pitch.

“He was en­joy­ing it and try­ing things, it’s im­por­tant to try things in these friendly matches, so it’s good for An­thony and his con­fi­dence.

“I can say he is train­ing bet­ter than be­fore, he’s work­ing harder than be­fore. It’s just a ques­tion to bring his tal­ent more in a con­sis­tent way.”

United face Barcelona to­mor­row in Wash­ing­ton DC, with a doubt over the fit­ness of mid­fielder An­der Her­rera, who was sub­sti­tuted af­ter suf­fer­ing a knock in the sec­ond half.

“It must at least be very painful be­cause for An­der to come off, it has to be very painful,” the Por­tuguese added.

“I want to wait and see what it was in front of the bench, it was a bad con­tact. Maybe it is his ribs but I don’t know.”

Mour­inho is al­ready with­out de­fend­ers Mar­cos Rojo, Luke Shaw and winger Ash­ley Young ahead of the sea­son af­ter the trio suf­fered long-term in­juries at the end of last cam­paign.

Mean­while, United mid­fielder Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan backs him­self to im­prove in his sec­ond sea­son at the club, say­ing his strug­gle to im­press Mour­inho has made him men­tally stronger.

Mkhi­taryan, who ar­rived at Old Traf­ford from Borus­sia Dort­mund at the start of last sea­son, had to wait un­til Septem­ber to make his first Premier League start against Manch­ester City, only to be subbed at half­time.

The Ar­me­nian im­proved in the sec­ond-half of the sea­son and fin­ished the sea­son strongly.

“For sure I will be a bet­ter player for this ex­pe­ri­ence,” Mkhi­taryan told re­porters.

“Last year with my dif­fi­cul­ties they helped me a lot. I could stay more strong in my mind, like men­tally,”

“It shows that you are strong enough to win them over or not. I think I have done ev­ery­thing to work hard, to show every­one I can play and that I can do my best for the team.”

Mkhi­taryan said United have set higher tar­gets ahead of the up­com­ing sea­son af­ter fin­ish­ing with League Cup and Europa League ti­tle in Mour­inho’s first sea­son at Old Traf­ford.

United, who fin­ished sixth in the league last sea­son, host West Ham United on Au­gust 13 in the open­ing game of the Pre­mier­ship.

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