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José Mourinho Reveals Why A Fit Anthony Martial Was Dropped At Stoke

José Mourinho Reveals Why A Fit Anthony Martial Was Dropped At Stoke
By Gavan Casey
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It was reported last weekend that Anthony Martial had visited Paris as opposed to bet365 Stadium with his teammates after he was dropped by José Mourinho for Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Stoke.

Martial's future has been the topic of much uncertainty since Mourinho's arrival, with the French forward failing to reach similar levels to his above-decent debut season.

Some impressive displays over Christmas seemed to settle Martial into Mourinho's setup, but the 21-year-old was left out of United's matchday squad last Saturday, with rumours that he had picked up a knock following United's draw with Liverpool a weekend previous.

Mourinho, however, has since clarified the situation, and revealed to reporters yesterday evening that Martial was indeed fit, and simply dropped for his side's visit to Stoke, having failed to 'take his chance' against Liverpool.

I don't think he lost his focus. I think he just didn't catch with both hands a big opportunity he had.

We have still five players for these positions. I cannot give to one player chances to play and kill the others. I cannot give to the same player chance after chance after chance and not consider the effort of the others.

I have to take people out of the team. That's simple.

When we spoke about Memphis Depay, we spoke about it being the only position where we have overbooking.

We have still five players for these positions. I cannot give to one player chances to play and kill the others. To kill the others, I think I did with Memphis by considering him the last option and by not giving him any option.

Anthony played against Liverpool, a big match for us and for him too, and then the next game I went to Mata and Mkhitaryan. This is the situation.

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Despite a rather stark warning regarding his performance, Mourinho went on to indicate that he had no issue with Martial travelling to Paris rather than remain in Manchester or watch United at Stoke.

Indeed, he suggested that David De Gea do the same, if he wanted, when he's rested for United's FA Cup tie with Wigan this weekend:

Normally, I take one of the [dropped] players to prevent any problem in the warm-up.

But we don't have many days off, so I like to give the players some freedom to choose if they need a weekend off when they are not selected. If, for him, it was better to go to Paris, that's completely fine.

For the weekend, if nothing happens in terms of injuries, I'm going to play [Sergio] Romero and put Joel [Castro Pereira] on the bench.

David de Gea will be free and if he wants to go to Spain and enjoy two days, he has to go. I give the players this freedom of choice, so no problem at all with Anthony to go to Paris.

There remains an uncertainty to Mourinho's fondness for Martial, who didn't necessarily have a poor game versus Liverpool relative to his teammates, most of whom were kept in check by Jurgen Klopp's pressing tactics at Old Trafford.

It's possible, perhaps, that he failed to meet expectations from a defensive standpoint, with Liverpool occasionally looking threatening down Martial's left-hand side.

The French forward is two goals away from costing United a further €10m in their deal with Monaco.

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