Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to defend one of his top stars after his goalscoring problems continued in Manchester United’s shock 2-1 home defeat to Sheffield United on Wednesday night.
The Red Devils missed the chance to return to the top of the table as the struggling Blades won at Old Trafford.
Harry Maguire notched United’s lone goal, but it was Anthony Martial’s continuing struggles that prompted debate after.
The Frenchman has now started 10 more Premier League games than Edinson Cavani. However, the veteran Uruguayan still has twice as many goals for Solskjaer’s men.
Martial was recalled for the reverse fixture against the Blades last month and scored. But he provided little threat on Wednesday night in a poor United display.
The attacker has scored just five goals in 32 games this season, with only two coming in the Premier League.
He is now in his sxith season at Old Trafford but has failed to live up to the £36million fee United paid for him as a teenager in 2015.
Cavani, meanwhile, has notched four times in the league and impressed when called upon.
But following the defeat to Sheffield United, Solskjaer gave his backing to the misfiring Martial – as reported in the MEN.
“The whole team will probably get criticism tonight and myself as well,” Solskjaer conceded. “I don’t think Anthony is exempt from that. We should all be criticised because we didn’t perform.
“I know Antho, he’s working really hard in training, working on his finishing, working on his movement. So I’ve got no qualms that he’ll come good.”
As for Cavani, he now looks certain to return to the starting line-up against Arsenal on Saturday.
Solskjaer backs United to bounce back
United have not beaten the Gunners in the league since Arsene Wenger’s retirement in 2018. However, Solskjaer is backing his men to bounce back.
He felt some major decisions went againt them in the defeat to the bottom side, adding: “The big moments went against us.
“If you look at it, Billy Sharp has been around the place, and he knows how to put a goalkeeper off, that’s a definite foul on him so David [de Gea] can’t get up. And, for me, the referee makes a mistake by blowing the whistle for our goal at our corner. That’s disappointing but that happens.
“There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself and there’s another game on Saturday. Other teams have lost games and had to bounce back. We have done it before, this group of players have done it so many times. I expect our performance to be much, much better on Saturday.
“We’ve got Arsenal, Southampton and Everton – three massive games – so we can’t feel sorry for ourselves for too long. When I see them in the morning, I expect them to get the mood back up and the focus on Saturday.”