EPL

Solskjaer praises influential Martial: That was more like the Anthony of old

By Sports Desk March 07, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted to see Anthony Martial back to his best in Manchester United's derby win, particularly as the forward nearly missed Sunday’s game at the Etihad Stadium.

Martial was an injury doubt right up until kick-off after not featuring in the 0-0 draw away at Crystal Palace in midweek due to a knee problem.

However, the Frenchman produced an outstanding display against Manchester City, including winning the early penalty that allowed Bruno Fernandes to fire the visitors in front after just 101 seconds.

Luke Shaw doubled the lead in the 50th minute having also been doubtful to play himself, with the Red Devils putting an end to their neighbours' 21-game winning streak in impressive fashion.

"I thought Anthony was absolutely superb today, more like the Anthony of old," Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

"And to think he was a doubt this morning. He was until two hours – or after the warm-up, to be fair. I wasn't sure he was going to play or not. It was the same with Luke. 

"Today he [Martial] rediscovered himself, I feel. He was really strong on the ball, positive, and we have to be a positive team.  

"We want to play at a high tempo, of course we do, but we had to defend well. You’ve got to defend so you can attack the spaces that appear."

Martial played in a central role with Edinson Cavani unavailable, completing 95 per cent of his attempted passes as he consistently caused problems to City's previously stingy defence.

The only disappointment was his failure to convert a glorious opportunity to score himself in the second half, a goal his performance richly deserved.

"When you come away with a 2-0 win and another clean sheet, and a performance like this, you're delighted," Solskjaer said of his team's display against the runaway league leaders.

"We knew it was a challenge. Of course, the first goal dictates a lot of what happened out there.

"We could play more on the result, I didn't like us coming into half-time as we played too much on the result, because we were winning.  

"In the second half we got on the ball a bit more and the second goal was fantastic."

Pep Guardiola's side had not lost in their previous 28 games in all competitions, a run that stretched back to a 2-0 reverse away at Tottenham in November 2020. 

However, Solskjaer has developed a welcome habit of winning at the Etihad. The Norwegian is the first manager in United's history to win each of his first three away meetings in all competitions against City, who still remain 11 points clear at the Premier League summit. 

"They are too far ahead to think we can catch them," Solskjaer said. "Last year, we caught up 15 points up to Leicester, but those are different propositions. 

"Even today, they do put you under so much pressure that you can see you’re playing against a very, very good team."

Related items

  • 'I feel 100 per cent Roma' - Mourinho basks in Roma's Conference League final triumph 'I feel 100 per cent Roma' - Mourinho basks in Roma's Conference League final triumph

    Jose Mourinho has declared he is "100 per cent Roma" after their 1-0 Europa Conference League final triumph over Feyenoord on Wednesday.

    Playing in their first continental showpiece since losing the 1984 European Cup final to Liverpool, Nicolo Zaniolo scored the only goal for the Giallorossi, poking the ball home in the 32nd minute after chesting down Gianluca Mancini's ball over the top of the defence.

    The victory in Tirana gave the Serie A club their first major European trophy.

    In his first season at Roma, Mourinho has now emulated Giovanni Trapattoni's feat of winning a European trophy in three separate decades.

    Despite famously leaving in the following off-season after winning the Champions League with Porto and Inter, the 59-year-old asserted he wants to stay and build on this success in the Italian capital.

    "I remain, even if some voice or offer arrives," Mourinho said. "I want to stay in Rome and we need to understand what our owners want to do in the next season because we can follow up on this story, we must define the direction for the next season.

    "I feel like a Roma player, like I feel like an Inter fan, a Chelsista, I'm crazy about Real Madrid, but for all due respect for the clubs I have worked for, I feel 100 per cent Roma.

    "The beautiful thing about my career beyond winning with Manchester United, winning with Porto, Inter and now with Roma is something special. Winning when everyone expects it is easy, while it is special to win when you do something truly historic. I hope the fans wait for us and celebrate with us all."

    In distinct Mourinho fashion, the Giallorossi were able to absorb pressure once they took the lead, only holding 33 per cent of possession over the 90 minutes.

    Feyenoord could do very little in breaking Roma down, generating only three shots from open play in the penalty area in the match, despite how much of the ball they had.

    For Mourinho and Roma, the Conference League had become a priority and he was pleased this trophy had not c1ome at the expense of domestic ambitions.

    "There are so many things going on in my head right now," he said. "I have been in Rome for 11 months and I immediately understood where I was.

    "As I told the boys, in Turin in the locker room, we did what we had to do, our job. But today it wasn't work, it was history and we wrote history. The Conference League is a competition that we thought we could win from the start, slowly becoming stronger and stronger and we met stronger and stronger teams.

    "But we were aiming for it and sacrificed a few points in the league without losing qualification for the Europa League."

  • French Open: Nadal brushes off Moutet to seal 300th grand slam match win French Open: Nadal brushes off Moutet to seal 300th grand slam match win

    Rafael Nadal recorded his 300th grand slam match win by easing into the third round of the French Open, beating Corentin Moutet in straight sets.

    The 'King of Clay' is in search of a record-extending 22nd major title at Roland Garros, where he was dethroned by Novak Djokovic last year.

    On this evidence, Nadal is in the form to re-establish his dominion of the tournament, overcoming a spirited home hope, who enjoyed the benefit of vocal support from the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Wednesday evening.

    Nadal will see room for improvement having failed to serve the match out in the third set, but a 6-3 6-1 6-4 win was never in doubt.

    The tone for a procession was established when Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set, and Moutet's dream of playing his idol soon appeared to be turning into a nightmare.

    Nadal won the second set in commanding fashion behind an excellent first serve, but found Moutet's resistance more stern in the third.

    That spirit was exemplified by Moutet breaking Nadal's serve with the Spaniard ahead 5-3. However, Nadal immediately responded in kind, dominating Moutet from the back of the court and wrapping up a landmark victory when the Frenchman sent a lob long at the end of an entertaining rally.

    Nadal will face Botic Van De Zandschulp in the third round.

     

    Data Slam: Nadal 107-3 opponents

    As well as being his 300th grand slam match win, Nadal's triumph was his 107th at Roland Garros. He has still only tasted defeat in Paris three times. The fifth seed won all 11 of his first-serve points in the second set of another impressive display.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Nadal – 27/22
    Moutet – 16/24

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Nadal – 1/2
    Moutet – 0/3

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Nadal – 7/12
    Moutet – 2/4

  • Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title

    Nicolo Zaniolo led Roma to their first major continental title with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final in Tirana on Wednesday. 

    After suffering a defeat in the 1984 European Cup final and missing out on UEFA Cup glory seven years later, the Serie A side were not to be denied an elusive European triumph and lifted their first trophy since the Coppa Italia in 2008. 

    Zaniolo, who missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering a second ACL injury in under a year, dinked in an exemplary finish in the 32nd minute to put Roma in charge. 

    Feyenoord upped their game after the restart and were denied by the woodwork twice in three minutes, but Jose Mourinho's men tightened up and saw out a famous victory.

    The meeting between the competition's two most prolific sides was bereft of goalmouth action for much of the first half, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's withdrawal due to injury the most notable event in the opening half hour. 

    Roma moved in front with the first real chance of the match, though, as Zaniolo brought down Gianluca Mancini's excellent delivery with his chest and stabbed an instinctive finish home. 

    Feyenoord made a bright start to the second half and Mancini diverted a fizzed low cross onto the near post of his own goal before Rui Patricio parried Guus Til's follow-up behind. 

    Patricio produced a stunning stop in the 50th minute when he tipped a ferocious 20-yard drive from Tyrell Malacia onto the woodwork. 

    Justin Bijlow denied Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini as Roma tried to get a second on the break, but Bryan Linssen was unable to connect with Cyriel Dessers' flick-on in stoppage time on a painful evening for Feyenoord.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.