Manchester United star Anthony Martial sent a message amid criticism

Anthony Martial has now started 10 more Premier League games than Edinson Cavani and the Uruguayan still has twice as many goals for Manchester United.

Martial, 25, was recalled for the reverse fixture against Sheffield United last month in an effort to address his waning confidence and scored. At Old Trafford, he never represented a threat to the Sheffield United goal.

United are 32 games into this crammed season and Martial has mustered five goals – two in the league – in 25 appearances. He is midway through his sixth season with the club and, having requested to reclaim the number nine ahead of last term, is failing to live up to his centre forward billing.

‘Martial’ was the top UK trend on Wednesday night and a mere scan confirmed the feedback was unkind. If there is a straw to clutch at, it is that Martial was under scrutiny midway through last season and ended it United’s highest scorer. That feat seems beyond him this year.

“The whole team will probably get criticism tonight and myself as well,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded. “I don’t think Anthony is exempt from that. We should all be criticised because we didn’t perform.

“I know Antho, he’s working really hard in training, working on his finishing, working on his movement, so I’ve got no qualms that he’ll come good.”

Cavani, 34 on Valentine’s Day, is poised to regain his place at Arsenal in the Saturday tea-time kick-off. United are yet to beat Arsenal in the league since the departure of Arsene Wenger in 2018 and Solskjaer’s only managerial victory over them was in the FA Cup fourth round two years ago.

The timing of the fixture is a swift opportunity for United to get the demoralising defeat to Sheffield United out of their system. Chris Wilder’s side had lost 16 of their 19 league games and arrived at Old Trafford with one win, yet left M16 with three points for the first time since December 1973.

“Of course, we’re disappointed but any result in the Premier League this season shouldn’t surprise anyone. But, then again, very disappointed we couldn’t put a better performance on, that’s down to us and we just couldn’t find an opening behind or around or between a very compact and good Sheffield United defence.

“The big moments went against us. If you look at it, Billy Sharp has been around the place, and he knows how to put a goalkeeper off, that’s a definite foul on him so David [de Gea] can’t get up. And, for me, the referee makes a mistake by blowing the whistle for our goal at our corner. That’s disappointing but that happens.

“There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself and there’s another game on Saturday. Other teams have lost games and had to bounce back. We have done it before, this group of players have done it so many times and I expect our performance to be much, much better on Saturday.

“We’ve got Arsenal, Southampton and Everton – three massive games – so we can’t feel sorry for ourselves for too long. When I see them in the morning, I expect them to get the mood back up and the focus on Saturday.”

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