Solskjaer backs Martial to return to form after ‘disappointing’ return last season

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Anthony Martial to return to form this season, after enduring a ‘disappointing’ campaign last time out.

After netting a career-best return of 23 goals in all competitions during the 2019/20 season, expectations were high for the Frenchman last term, yet he ultimately failed to deliver, going on to net a hugely disappointing tally of just four Premier League goals.

While that record was no doubt inhibited due to injury, the former Monaco man did look way short of his best when he was available, culminating in the loss of his starting berth to last year’s summer signing Edinson Cavani.

Such a poor campaign for the 25-year-old had sparked rumours that he could well be moved on before the August deadline, although manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has quashed such suggestion and revealed that the striker has the ‘grit between his teeth again’.

“As I’ve said before we really rate Anthony,” said Solskjaer at his press conference on Friday. “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.”

With Cavani making a delayed return to pre-season, Martial will likely be handed the chance to impress in United’s opening clash against Leeds United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Ahead of that hugely anticipated encounter, Solskjaer has revealed he is expecting more goals from his forward last season, having seen midfielder Bruno Fernandes top the club’s scoring charts last season with 28 goals in all competitions.

“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.”

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