Anthony Martial’s goal after coming off the bench against LASK was a joyous moment.

The Frenchman needed only six minutes on the pitch at Old Trafford to score the winner, clinching a 2-1 victory with a coolly taken strike.

Martial looked happy as he celebrated, moving to become the club’s top scorer outright with 23 goals for the season so far. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked delighted too.

Then the BT Sport television cameras tried to undercut a happy moment by panning to Marcus Rashford in the stadium, and attempting to manufacture a rivalry between the two.

This is not the first team the media have attempted to create this narrative. Gary Neville pushed the same claim while commentating on Manchester United’s win over Aston Villa earlier in July.

Manchester United v LASK - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Second Leg
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Team objectives first

The artificial focus on a rivalry which is not there is a little irritating. How about just focus on Martial’s happy moment without trying to create a little controversy?

A little healthy competition is good, and spurs the players on. But that is not the story here.

It should be a celebration of the fact Manchester United have two players who have scored more than 20 goals in a season for the first time since Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez back in 2010/11.

 

Rashford and Martial’s partnership is playing out on the pitch. Rashford provided five assists for Martial in the Premier League this season.

Whoscored.com record that the Rashford to Martial combination alone is the third most prolific assist to scorer partnership in England.

Martial returns the favour. His assist for Rashford to score an equaliser demonstrated one of the best pieces of non-goalscoring forward play this season, as he held the ball up with three defenders crowding him and laid it off for his teammate to score.

Manchester United v LASK - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Second Leg
(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Had Rashford not missed a sitter from three yards out later in the game, Martial would have another assist on his record.

The duo have been putting United first, and any individual competition between them has not been showing up in matches.

All good forwards are competitive and want to be the best, but not to the detriment of the team. The media-led focus on a supposed ‘rivalry’ between Rashford and Martial appears very forced.

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