Martial can be key for Man Utd – Solskjaer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he expects Anthony Martial to get back to his best this season.

Martial scored 17 goals in the Premier League during the 2019-20 campaign but managed just four last season. The Frenchman has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford this summer but fit again after five months out with a knee injury, Solskjaer believes he is ready to play a key role up front.

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“As I’ve said before we really rate Anthony,” said Solskjaer. “Last season was disappointing, he had injuries, he lost some form, the season before he was our top scorer.

“I’m very confident and I like what I see from Anthony when I see him in training now and when I see him in the gym he has that little bit of grit between his teeth again.”

Only champions Manchester City scored more goals than United last season but ahead of the first game of the new campaign against Leeds United, Solskjaer has called on his strikers, including Martial, to challenge midfielder Bruno Fernandes as the club’s top scorer.

“Anthony will score more goals than he did last season and I think Mason [Greenwood] will only develop,” he said. “Edinson [Cavani] started late in the season, I think he’ll score more goals and Jadon [Sancho] will come in and chip in with goals so I feel confident that the burden is not just on Bruno to score goals.

“Of course he was fantastic, his return with goals and assists have been unbelievable since he came into the club. Marcus [Rashford] of course will lose out on the first couple of months of the season which is not great for him but when he comes back he’ll be fresh again so to be able to spread the goals with the forwards with more goals that will be important for us. An attacking midfielder shouldn’t be the only one scoring 15-20 goals.”

Sancho is expected to make his United debut against Leeds United but Raphael Varane will have to wait because his move from Real Madrid is not yet complete. United have already spent more than £100 million in the transfer window but Solskjaer is not ruling out more arrivals before the deadline on August 31.

“You always want more as a manager and as a coach but I have to say that I’m very very happy with the squad I’ve got,” he said. “With the players now, with the mentality they’ve got I feel a lot more comfortable and as a manager you always want to see part of yourself or a lot of yourself in your team and they know my feelings of what we have to do and I’m very pleased with what we’ve done this summer.

“We do have some fitness issues and some players out but that’s the same with everyone. We’ve probably got a longer list than most but we’ll get there and get everyone fit.”