At their best, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are integral to Manchester United.
The pair looked unstoppable during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first few months at the helm. And their return was timely as United took on Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup.
Unfortunately, the duo’s lack of match fitness was clear from the kick-off. Martial in particular looked off the pace but Lingard was not much better.
Players need time to rediscover their sharpness. However, with Romelu Lukaku absent, United’s attack looked toothless despite the best efforts of Marcus Rashford.
United had no spark or verve in the FA Cup quarter-final.
What Lingard and Martial normally do so well – pull opposition defences apart and interchange to great effect – was sadly absent.
Solskjaer would have expected more, from at least one of his returning stars. Instead he oversaw United’s limpest performance since his return.
In time Martial and Lingard will shine again. But the Frenchman’s struggles are even more evident following the news that he has withdrawn from international duty this month.
News from the club’s official website that he has more pain in his right knee is a bad sign. It also highlights why he was so ineffective on Saturday.