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Anthony Martial claims Jose Mourinho ‘disrespected’ him by forcing him to change shirt number at Manchester United back in 2016. The France international wore the No 9 during his maiden year in England after arriving from Monaco. However, he was forced to take the No 11 with Zlatan Ibrahimovic getting the striker’s preferred jersey instead.
Manchester United signed Martial from Monaco back in the summer transfer window of 2015, when Louis van Gaal ruled the roost.
He proceeded to shine at Old Trafford, netting 17 goals across all competitions – even outscoring Wayne Rooney in the process.
However, when Mourinho took charge, Martial’s form suffered. One factor behind that was because he was unhappy with the No 9 shirt being given to Ibrahimovic, who arrived from Paris Saint-Germain that summer.
And now, speaking to France Football, the 26-year-old has slammed Mourinho for his actions.
“It started with the story of the number,” he said.
“During the holidays, he sends me a message to ask me if I want to take 11, explaining to me that it’s great, because it’s legend Ryan Giggs.
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“I tell him that I have the greatest respect for Giggs, but that I prefer to keep my number nine.
“When I return to the club, I see my jersey with the number 11, the story did not start well [laughs ]. He disrespected me, straight up.”
Martial then proceeded to accuse Mourinho of mind games, while condemning the club’s decision to land Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal.
“He [Mourinho] was talking about me in the press,” continued the forward.
“He likes these games, but he also knows who he is doing it with.
“He knows that I am 20 years old then and that if I say something, it is I who will pass for the young person who lacks respect.
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“The second season [2017/18], I was the team’s top scorer in the first part of the season, he [Mourinho] brought in Alexis Sanchez and I hardly played any more.
“Mondial, it costs me dearly. I should have been there…”
Mourinho isn’t the only former United boss who Martial seems to have an issue with.
The Frenchman has also criticised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to make him play for the club last term, despite being injured.
“The last two seasons, I have regularly played injured,” he stated.
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“People don’t know that, I couldn’t accelerate during the four months following the Covid season. Coach Solskjaer tells me that he needs me, so I play.
“Given my game, if I can’t accelerate, it becomes very complicated. And I get set on fire… The coach never bothered to tell the media.
“Obviously, I end up getting injured to good and when I come back, finished, I don’t play anymore.
“I took it very badly. I had a feeling of injustice.
“You are asked to sacrifice yourself for the team and behind you are dismissed. For me, it’s almost treachery, that’s all I hate. I can be blamed, but not for being fake.”
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Some believe Martial was too young to join United, with the forward aged 19 at the time.
But he refutes that theory and insists he’s proven he’s got the talent and capacity to play at the highest level.
“Left too early for #MUFC? I don’t think so,” he said.
“Otherwise, I would have messed up when I arrived. However, I’m having a good first season, I’m scoring 17 goals and delivering 13 assists.
“If you’re not ready, you’re not doing this, right?”
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