Erik ten Hag defends Anthony Martial after Man Utd striker is booed | Football


The striker was jeered when his number was shown on the substitutes’ board (Picture: Getty)

Erik ten Hag has defended Anthony Martial after he was booed off during Manchester United’s shock 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The Frenchman was brought back into the starting XI after being benched for the side’s excellent victory over Chelsea on Wednesday, with Rasmus Hojlund missing out, but Martial gave a peripheral and lacklustre performance.

He mustered just one effort on goal – eight of his team-mates recorded as many shots or more – while his 35 touches was the lowest of any starter.

Martial was withdrawn in the 55th minute and replaced by Hojlund, with the Old Trafford crowd booing the 28-year-old as he left the field and cheering his substitute’s arrival.

It is the second time Martial has been booed this season, with his introduction against Brighton jeered back in September, but Ten Hag has defended his forward and says the whole team struggled against Bournemouth.

Asked how Martial can realistically continue at the club given his reception and awful goalscoring returns, Ten Hag replied: ‘Two weeks ago against Everton he played a very good game!

‘So he has absolutely the competencies and the abilities to play so I don’t think it’s fair, after a performance like this, to go to one player now. As a group we failed, altogether.’

Anthony Martial booed off in Manchester United defeat

Martial had another frustrating afternoon in a United shirt (Picture: Getty)

Reflecting on the manner of the defeat and why his side were unable to build on their excellent display against Chelsea, Ten Hag said: ‘As a squad, I think we are not good enough to be consistent and we have to work as a squad to improve that.’

Asked if he can trust the squad given their lack of consistency, Ten Hag replied: ‘As a group we have to improve, that’s a fact. We have to get tougher and that we are ready for the game from the start.

‘I said it on Friday, in this league, it can’t be that you are not playing on the highest levels because you get killed – and that is what happened in the first five minutes.

‘Especially against them, such a good transition team, you make life easy for them, they have the perfect conditions to play in.

‘You see the team battling and fighting, putting a lot of effort in, for long periods to return in the game, but it can’t happen that you so easily concede a goal.’

Next up, United face Bayern Munich in the Champions League and then travel to Anfield to face Liverpool, though they will be without skipper Bruno Fernandes for the latter after he picked up a fifth booking of the season.

Asked if Bruno’s yellow was worse than losing the match, Ten Hag replied bluntly: ‘No, the worst thing is to lose the match.’

MORE : Bruno Fernandes apologises to Manchester United fans after 3-0 drubbing against Bournemouth

MORE : Michael Owen aims dig at Bruno Fernandes after Man Utd humiliated by Bournemouth

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