Fresh from his stunning solo goal against Fulham at the weekend, Anthony Martial was asked to preview Manchester United’s next assignment, when he attended Monday’s pre-match press conference for the Reds’ clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
The France international was a natural choice to sit alongside caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the top table, as he conversed with reporters from his home country.
Here’s a translation of what Martial said to the media and the questions he was asked…
The players are still the same and yet the results have changed completely under the new manager. What’s happened?
““Well, we’ve got a coach who has got perhaps different intentions, a different approach, and we’re trying to do what he’s asking us to do, of course. Perhaps it’s easier for us now to play this style of football compared to the previous style of football we were asked to play. We’re doing well on the pitch and we hope to continue.””
Is there a wish among the players to keep Solskjaer as head coach?
“Obviously things are going really well at the moment and we’re really happy to have him here with us. I hope we can continue with him as our manager and our coach, but ultimately the final decision isn’t down to us. Certainly we’re pleased that he is with us at the moment, absolutely.”
The manager has said how pleased he is with you but he’d like you to score more ‘ugly’ goals so you become a 20-goals-a season forward. Do you think that’s in your capability and do you think United fans still haven’t really seen your best form?
“Well, he has often said that to me and even previous managers have said that to me. They’ve said that this is something you’ve got to work on, you really have to work on that. And if I do manage to do that, get beyond the defence, then yeah I will score more goals.”
When the last-16 draw was made in early December, a lot of United fans probably thought their team would lose but now they expect you to win. Can you explain what’s happened in the two months since the draw?
“I think when our new coach came in, he had a lot of confidence, a lot of determination and I think that is really helpful, of course. That’s really a boost to us. He has a lot of confidence in us and obviously we’re trying to pay him back in kind. We hope that things are going to work out. Things are working well at the moment.”
Given your current results and the players who won’t be playing for PSG, do you think United are favourites tomorrow?
“Well no, I don’t think we are necessarily the favourites, but obviously they have a few absentees and that should be to our advantage, of course. But we also know that they’ve got plenty of very good players to come in. So, I think it’s still going to be a great game. It will be a great game and I can only hope that we win.”
How would you explain how well Paul Pogba is playing at the moment? Do you think he feels a bit freer now on the pitch?
“Paul is Paul – I think I’ve said that before. You know he has a huge amount of qualities. He’s one of the best midfielders in the world, as far as I’m concerned, and I think, at the moment, that is what he is showing. He’s showing that he’s one of the best midfielders in the world and I think that he’ll do even better over the next few matches and that’s going to be huge for us.”
You were playing really well before the managerial change. Has the current manager asked you to do anything particularly different from the previous one?
“He’s asking me to attack more. That’s my job after all: to make the difference as it were, to be more decisive and, you know, things are working out pretty well at the moment for the other attackers as well, of course. I can only say that I hope we all continue to play like that. There’s a certain degree of rotation, but I hope we can continue to be as effective and efficient and continue to play at the top level.”