Anthony Martial has accused former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho of ‘disrespecting’ him during the Portuguese’s polarising tenure at Old Trafford.
Mourinho, 59, succeeded Louis van Gaal in 2016 a year after Martial joined the club from Monaco as the most expensive teenager at the time, but he made just 18 starts under the now Roma boss in that 2016/17 season in the Premier League as Zlatan Ibrahimovic took his place.
The Swede was also handed Martial’s No. 9 shirt upon his arrival at the club, with the Frenchman being forced to switch to the 11 jersey to accommodate the veteran marksman. Ibrahimovic went on to score 28 goals in all competitions that campaign as Man Utd won a Europa League and EFL Cup double.
However, things didn’t get much better from there for Martial, who again started just 18 Premier League games the following season (2017/18), as Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku pushed him further down the pecking order, a notion he has been quick to acknowledge in recent times.
“It started with the shirt number thing,” Martial told France Football. “During the holidays, he sent me a message asking me if I would change to No.11, explaining that it was great because it was the number of the legend Ryan Giggs. I told him that I had the greatest respect for Giggs but that I would prefer to keep my No. 9. And when I go back to the club, I see my No. 11 shirt, the story didn’t go well.
“He disrespected me, directly. He talked about me in the press, little phrases, a bit like he had done with Karim Benzema at Real Madrid. In the [2017-18] season, I was the team’s top scorer in the first half of the season, he brought in Alexis Sanchez and then I didn’t play much. It was the World Cup season as well, and it cost me a lot at the end, especially as the French team won. I should have been there.”