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01st Aug 2018

Jose Mourinho turns to press officer after Anthony Martial question

Martial has been linked with a move away this summer

Darragh Murphy

You’d have thought Jose Mourinho would have been in a better mood after Manchester United’s first preseason victory inside 90 minutes.

United claimed a 2-1 victory over reigning European champions Real Madrid on Tuesday night, with Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera finding the net before a Karim Benzema consolation goal.

Mourinho continued to cut a frustrated figure in his post-match press conference, however, and he simply fobbed off the reporters’ questions about Anthony Martial.

Martial has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford this summer and he left United’s preseason tour last week in order to be present for the birth of his son in Paris.

When asked whether the French forward would return to the preseason training squad, Mourinho passed the question on to the club’s press officer, Karen Shotbolt.

“Anthony Martial? It’s better for Karen to answer if she wants to answer,” Mourinho said before Shotbolt responded by telling journalists that: “We’re here to talk about the game.”

The question was repeated moments later and Mourinho replied with a simple: “I don’t know.”

It sounded like the United boss was unhappy with certain players, likely including Martial, for failing to give their all in their summer preparations for the season ahead.

While praising the desire of Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Romelu Lukaku after they agreed to cut their summer holidays short following the World Cup in order to help out the team, Mourinho criticised those players who weren’t present.

“With the fantastic spirit we have in the majority of the players, I repeat: In the majority of the players, we have a fantastic spirit, we go with everything we have to the Premier League,” Mourinho said.

At the beginning of the summer, Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley announced that the 22-year-old was eager to leave the Red Devils in pursuit of more playing time.

“After thinking about all the possibilities and settings, Anthony wants to leave Manchester United,” Lamboley told RMC Sport.

“Anthony is sad about his situation at Manchester.

“He loves the club and the fans, he showed it for three years. Without the great support from the fans, he would have already asked to leave the club.”