Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has refused to criticise Anthony Martial after a poor performance in the Carabao Cup against West Ham on Wednesday.
The United boss has also insisted the hopelessly out of form striker, who has once more been linked with a move away, will get more chances to prove himself.
United rebuffed late summer interest in Martial from PSG, only for the Frenchman to slip down the pecking order. He is already second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo for the ‘number nine’ role and will fall further behind when Edinson Cavani soon returns to full fitness.
Mason Greenwood was leading the line for United at the start of the season. What’s more, the club are expected to target a long-term striker, which many fans hope will be Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland, in the market next summer.
90min rated Martial 5/10 for his performance, describing him as ‘rusty’ and his form ‘very worrying’.
Yet Solskjaer insisted that the number nine was on the same level as everyone else on the night.
“I don't think it's right to go into individual performances. Anto was the same as the rest of the team. We lacked some of that cutting edge and he knows what we want from him. He'll keep working and get his chances,” the United boss explained to the media afterwards.
“27 shots shows everyone gave it a good go. [I] can't fault the attitude at all. A little bit of good fortune could have gone our way and a little more quality, maybe a decision here or there we don't seem to get at the moment,” he added.
“It's a clear penalty for Jesse [Lingard] again, Mark Noble falls and pulls him down. You can't dwell too much on that. I've never actually won this tournament, that hunt will have to keep going, because it's a trophy I'd like to have. But we have to make decisions to get the squad up to speed for the rest of the season, sometimes you have to make changes, take risks and we did.”