A beaming Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Anthony Martial as having “rediscovered” himself in Manchester United’s away victory against rivals City on Sunday.

Martial faced a late fitness test before Sunday’s game at the Etihad Stadium. With Edinson Cavani unavailable due to injury, Martial started as United’s lone striker and thrived.

He held the ball up well, acted as a key part in United’s high press and although his finishing was off, he was named Man of the Match.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 07:   Anthony Martial of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on March 7, 2021 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Solskjaer: United had to be more “direct” to beat City

“We went back to be a little bit what we wanted to be and that’s being more direct, more straightforward, attacking players, getting at them,” Solskjaer said speaking to Sky Sports, referring to United’s team as a whole, before talking specifically about his French striker.

“That was the Anthony Martial of old. Until two hours before warm-up, I wasn’t sure if he’d play.

“Today he rediscovered himself. He was really strong on the ball and very positive.”

 

Martial reacts to criticism with immense performance, Solskjaer delighted

Martial has been oft-criticised for his energy, or lack thereof, as United’s main striker. His work rate in recent games, particularly against Newcastle, was underwhelming. This was completely different. He led United.

United have narrowed the gap at the top of the Premier League now. 11 points behind City, United would need a miracle to get back into the title race, particularly with City being so consistent this season.

United sit 11 points behind City in Premier League

“When you come away with a 2-0 win and another clean sheet and a performance like this then you are delighted,” Solskjaer said.

“We had to defend well. No team in the world of football has a chance against Manchester City without being collective.

“We just take one game time. They are too far ahead to think we can catch them. They have been excellent. Even today they put you under so much pressure.”

Have something to tell us about this article?