Jose Mourinho insists Anthony Martial can be a success at Manchester United but has urged the forward embrace his way of thinking.
The France international has failed to build on a hugely promising first season with United and has made only 12 starts in the Premier League since Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal as manager.
The 21-year-old was used a second-half substitute for the draw with Anderlecht in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie, before he was left out of the matchday squad entirely for the 2-0 league win over Chelsea on Sunday.
Speaking ahead of the return fixture with the Belgian side, Mourinho has urged Martial to follow Marcus Rashford’s example of playing in the way that the manager demands.
“Do I think Anthony is a player with great potential? Yes,” he told a news conference on Wednesday. “Do I think he can play successfully for me? Yes. But he needs to give me things that I like very much.
“We are together for almost 10 months and I know the players much better now, they should know me much better now.
“The players have to come in my direction and that’s the point. That’s why Rashford even without scoring was always in.
“Rashford was always pulling in my direction. Anthony has to give me things that I like.”
— Anthony Martial (@AnthonyMartial) February 26, 2017
Another United forward whose future is the subject of speculation is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the former Paris Saint-Germain star yet to sign an extension to the one-year contract that expires at the end of the season.
Asked if there was an update on Ibrahimovic’s plans, Mourinho replied: “I don’t know, I really don’t know.”
Mourinho also clarified that he was not singling out Ibrahimovic when he criticised United’s forwards for failing to kill off the first leg, in which Leander Dendoncker cancelled out Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s opener with four minutes of normal time left.
“I was not disappointed with Zlatan, I was disappointed with the team,” said Mourinho, who dropped Ibrahimovic to the bench for the win over Chelsea.
“The team had the game in their hands and did not kill the game. We could be speaking now about a friendly game [on Thursday] if we won 3-0 in Anderlecht.
“It could be a nice game, and the chance to play Axel Tuanzebe, and some of the other young ones without any kind of pressure. The game was easy to cure, and we did not.”
Mourinho is nonetheless hopeful that United will reach the final in Solna to give Ibrahimovic the chance to play for a trophy on Swedish soil.
“I think it would be the perfect final for us,” he added. “It would be the perfect end to the season for us, a difficult season with lots of matches.
“I think for Zlatan it would be fantastic to play the final in his country, it would be perfect, it would be beautiful – no more than that.”