“Anthony Martial is a vital player for us. He has got different attributes. When he is a good mood, it affects other people.”
Solskjaer spoke about his French striker, Anthony Martial when he was previewing Thursday’s Europa League tie with Partizan Belgrade. In terms of impact this season, Martial has warranted his manager’s praise.
The 23-year-old Frenchman boasts a goal involvement every 105 minutes in 2019/20. This makes it one of the best rates in Europe.
How important is he?
United has played 16 games this season. Of which, Martial has featured in eight because of an injury.
In these games, the club has doubled the number of wins than when he is absent, averaging exactly one goal per game.
Indeed, Martial’s in past weeks has helped others with the manager lauding his ability to improve the effectiveness of strike partner, Marcus Rashford.
“Since Anthony has come back, Marcus has flourished,” said Solskjaer.
“He is probably happier facing goal and being direct, driving at people and taking players on rather than being a target man with his back to goal.”
Martial has flourished has flourished playing under the Norwegian. This has increased his chances created per game from 0.76 to 1.14.
In matches where Martial has appeared alongside him, their joint improvement has been even starker.
Under Mourinho’s guidelines, United statistically gained better results when one or both of the two was sidelined.
In contrast, under Solskjaer, the team has performed far better when the pair have been available as well as averaging 0.6 more goals per game.
Plagued by the inconsistency of form and fitness since he arrived at Old Trafford, Martial seems to have found his feet during his fifth season with the club.
Explaining his recent hamstring injury, Solskjaer said, “he was working too hard early on, which made him re-hurt his injury.”
Since his return to fitness, he has scored at Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League and in a 3-1 league victory over Norwich City.
Martial’s impact in the Premier League has been particularly impressive.
He has nearly tripled United’s chances of winning in the 14 games he has featured in since Solskjaer took charge last December compared to the 18 he has missed.