Saturday 21 April 2018

Revealed! Man United boss Jose Mourinho explains why Anthony Martial was in Paris last weekend

Anthony Martial is enduring a difficult second season at Manchester United
Anthony Martial is enduring a difficult second season at Manchester United

Jose Mourinho has revealed Manchester United striker Anthony Martial was free to spend last weekend in Paris.

Martial was left out of Mourinho's squad for Saturday's Premier League draw at Stoke and was given permission to take some time off.

It has since been rumoured he may have visited the French capital rather than watch the game at the bet365 Stadium, but Mourinho has no issue with that.

He even expects other players may do the same if he decides to rotate his squad for Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Wigan.

Mourinho said: "Normally, I take one of the (left out) players to prevent any problem in the warm-up.

"But we don't have many days off, so I like to give the (other) players some freedom to choose if they need a weekend off when they are not selected. If, for him, it was better to go to Paris, that's completely fine.

"For the weekend, if nothing happens in terms of injuries, I'm going to play (Sergio) Romero and put Joel (Castro Pereira) on the bench.

"David de Gea will be free and if he wants to go to Spain and enjoy two days, he has to go. I give the players this freedom of choice, so no problem at all with Anthony to go to Paris."

There have been reports claiming Martial and his representatives were upset by his omission from the game at Stoke. This has further fuelled speculation over the player's future after Mourinho recently said the Frenchman needed to listen to him more and not his agent in order to succeed at United.

Martial, a dramatic £36million deadline day signing in the summer of 2015, has struggled to replicate the impact he made in his first season at Old Trafford since Mourinho took charge.

Mourinho believes this has been down to form rather than any other distraction.

He said: "I don't think he lost his focus. I think he just didn't catch with both hands a big opportunity he had.

"We have still five players for these positions. I cannot give to one player chances to play and kill the others. I cannot give to the same player chance after chance after chance and not consider the effort of the others.

"I have to take people out of the team. That's simple."

Mourinho, speaking at a press conference to preview Thursday's EFL Cup semi-final second leg at Hull, was unwilling to drawn into a debate about the conduct of old adversary Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal boss Wenger is facing a Football Association misconduct charge after allegedly pushing a fourth official and using abusive or insulting words towards him.

Mourinho, who was pushed by Wenger in a touchline spat in 2014, served a stadium ban for his behaviour towards match officials while still at Chelsea last season. Mourinho's assistant Rui Faria was also hit with a six-match stadium ban - later reduced on appeal - in 2014.

But Mourinho said: "I never pushed the referee so I don't have a comparison. I have no idea. I cannot comment."

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