Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho predicts that Anthony Martial will have a “normal season” after standing out in an poor side last year.
The Frenchman has looked off the pace so far this season and has been substituted in Mourinho’s three games in charge, putting his starting place under threat.
Mourinho said: “I think when a team is not playing especially well and in the middle of that average level somebody comes out of that, he goes immediately to the highlight.
“I think this is a different picture. Last season, no Martial, no three points. This season, no Martial goals and three victories. The team is okay. Other players are scoring goals.
“I think he’s performing more than okay. I wouldn’t expect much more than that. He had no pre-season. He was the last one to arrive apart from Paul Pogba. Some guys take more time. I think he’s doing fine.
“I think he’s going to have a normal season. And for a guy of his qualities, a normal season is a good season so I think he will have a good season.”
Mourinho was questioned about keeping new signing Henrik Mkhitaryan on the bench and laughed off any suggestion of controversy.
“It’s difficult but if (Juan) Mata is on the bench, you tell me I want to kick him out and want to sell him,” Mourinho said.
“If I don’t play (Anthony) Martial it’s because he is in crisis, or if I don’t play Ashley Young, it’s because I don’t like Ashley Young. If it’s Memphis Depay, it is because he is on his way out…
“It is because I think the others (starting ahead of Mkhitaryan) are playing really well.
“When some managers buy players they play them for sure because they think about protecting themselves – ‘I bought this player, I have to show the world I was right.’
“No – the first thing I think about is my team, not myself.
“Because I know he is a super player and I know for sure he will succeed, I am not in a hurry to say he plays every game now from the beginning, to show everyone how good he is. No.”