Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag thinks Anthony Martial is primed for better form once he is at ‘top fitness’.

United went into the international break with a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal, leaving fans to hope for an improved display upon the Premier League return.

Sadly, United have lost 3-1 again as Brighton and Hove Albion ran riot at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Soft goals allowed Brighton to take a 3-0 lead before Hannibal Mejbri enjoyed a personal moment with his first Premier League goal.

Erik ten Hag finds himself under increasing pressure and that was clear when fans booed one of his second-half substitutions.

Manchester United fans jeered Anthony Martial introduction

Ten Hag decided to bring off new signing Rasmus Hojlund in order to bring on Anthony Martial.

The decision was met with a chorus of boos as United fans couldn’t believe Hojlund was being taken off.

Some realism needs to be factored in here though; this was Hojlund’s first start of the season having come back from injury.

United have a big game against Bayern Munich to come and Ten Hag decided to save Hojlund for future games and give Martial a run-out.

The booing wasn’t really about Martial, but Ten Hag still felt compelled to defend the Frenchman after the final whistle.

Ten Hag backs Martial for success this season

Ten Hag told United’s official website that he thinks Martial always had a ‘very positive’ effect on games last season.

The Dutchman feels that United ‘almost lost no games’ with martial on the pitch and backs him to contribute once fully fit.

Ten Hag appreciates that Martial isn’t at top fitness right now but predicts that he will have a big impact once he’s a little sharper.

“I think Anthony Martial every time, last year, every time when he had a very positive effect on our games. I think even we almost lost no games with Anthony Martial on the pitch,” said Ten Hag. “If that’s the fact, I don’t understand, because when he is fit, he definitely will contribute. At this moment, he is not [at] top fitness, but he is improving and I’m sure when he is 100 per cent fit, he will contribute – again, as [he did] last season,” he added.

The problem is that we have been here before.

We all know that Martial has talent but reaching full fitness and building momentum has been a problem for years.

United fans can’t keep living on promise with Martial and would be forgiven for some eye-rolls at Ten Hag’s comments.

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