Rangnick comments on Martial's future as Deadline Day nears
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Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick was delighted after his side beat West Ham on Saturday afternoon. Marcus Rashford was the hero, with the England international scoring in the closing stages to send Old Trafford wild. Anthony Martial also played a role, however, and Rangnick’s comments on the forward were certainly questionable after the game.
United left it late to beat West Ham, relying on a last-minute goal from Rashford to take all three points.
It was a big day for the England international, whose goal came just days after he’d struck in the 3-1 win over Brentford at the Community Stadium.
United weren’t at their swashbuckling best but the substitutes, Martial and Edinson Cavani, both made their mark.
After the game, Rangnick praised Martial. Deservedly so, with the France international changing the game with his bursts of speed from the left flank.
But he also called the forward ‘one of the best strikers in the Premier League’, in comments that can certainly be forgiven for raising eyebrows.
“When we last spoke one-and-a-half weeks ago, I told him it is all about being professional until the very last day,” he said.
“No mention of how long he will stay or wanting to leave, for me it is about being professional.
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“I think it was good to have this conversation with him. In the last two games, he was part of the squad and today he played a vital role in creating that goal we scored.
“I know that he is a top player, one of the best strikers in the Premier League, but we have other players in this position and it is his wish to leave and as I said to him, ‘listen, it always takes different parts to make an agreement’ and the way that he trained and the way he played when he came on today showed that the professionalism that I expect from everybody.
“I am happy that he was playing today and that he could come on and that he played a vital role in preparing that goal.”
Now begs the question: what next for Martial?
Rangnick is more than happy for the player to leave Old Trafford, providing the club receive what they deem to be a suitable offer.
And that’s because Martial has rarely shown the qualities one of the ‘best strikers in the Premier League’ should show on a regular basis.
So far this season, he’s struggled for action following the Hollywood homecoming of Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s netted just once, too, against Everton back in October.
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And it’ll be fascinating to see what happens next for Martial, who is tracked by the likes of Sevilla, Newcastle and Barcelona.
With just eight goals since the beginning of last season, he’s not done enough to show he deserves to stay at the club.
But with Martial a favourite of Joel Glazer, and given his impressive showing off the bench against West Ham, there’s still a possibility he’ll stay put.
Rangnick also said United picking up back-to-back wins was ‘important’ – and challenged his side to keep the winning streak going.
“It is very important. We have high ambitions in the club,” he said.
“We play a week on Friday against Middlesbrough and then away at Burnley.
“All of the games present challenges and we will have to perform on a high level.
“It will get physical again in those games, but I think the team realises now they are taking those steps. It is not so easy now to score goals against us.
“This was the best part, not only the clean sheet, but the way we defend as a team; the counter pressing was good, and we took the ball away from them.
“It is not easy against those physical players like [Michail] Antonio. That was the part of the game I was very pleased about.”
West Ham boss David Moyes, meanwhile, admitted he was annoyed with the result.
“I’m p***** off with that result, that’s for sure,” said the Scot.
“We didn’t do things that you learn as a young player when you’re trying to see games out.
“What you try and do in that last minute, we didn’t do that well.
“We defended well today but we lacked what we had in recent weeks, out attacking play wasn’t at that level but you also have to remember the level of the opposition.
“I’m not coming into these games to roll over and lose and say things are okay, we want to be better than that.
“I don’t think you’re competitive enough when you’ve got that mindset.
“I’m not pleased with the result but pleased with the performance, defensively – not our attacking play.”
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