Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has laughed off Anthony Martial’s reaction to being subbed off against Aston Villa and says he would be more worried if he wanted to be taken off.
The Red Devils won their fourth straight match by a three-goal margin, with goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba seeing off relegation-battling Villa on Thursday night.
Such a comfortable scoreline afforded Solskjaer the chance to rest some of his key men, with Martial withdrawn in the second half – though he did not look too happy about it.
The disappointed-looking Frenchman barely even acknowledged his manger as he exited the pitch and appeared to still be sulking in the stands, with Gary Neville describing him as ‘fuming’.
But Solskjaer is happy to see his frontman look so disappointed not to get on the score sheet, with Martial having hit the bar in the second half, and is delighted with his efforts since the season restart.
Asked about Martial’s reaction, Solskjaer said at his post-match press conference: ‘Anthony is getting fitter and fitter and he could have lasted the game, of course, and he’s starting every game.
‘I’d be more worried if he wanted to come off!
‘Everyone wants to be a part of the team, everyone wants to be on the pitch, and he’s put a shift in.
‘So [his reaction] is fine. It’s great for me to have him available to start every game.’
He added to MUTV: ‘Brilliant all day today, pressing, unlucky not to have scored – that will come though. And it’s great to see him unhappy when he comes off, because I want players who want to be on that pitch with their teammates.’
United legend Neville was on commentary duty for Sky Sports during the game and couldn’t help but chuckle at Martial’s reaction, with the Frenchman clearly desperate to add to his career-best 15 Premier League goals this season.
‘He’s not happy! He wants goals,’ laughed Neville as Martial saw his number on the substitution board. ‘He’s fuming in fact – which is a good sign. [Greenwood] looks a little more relaxed.
‘Do you think he wanted a goal? I think so. Fuming. But that is a good thing. That’s the classic centre-forward’s approach. You can win 3-0 and some of them, if they don’t score, they’re still not happy.’
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