The Frenchman finished the 2015/16 campaign as United’ top scorer but saw his fortunes take a negative turn after Jose Mourinho was appointed United boss the following season as he lost his place in the starting lineup under the Portuguese.
Although United claimed two major titles in Mourinho’s debut season, Martial blamed the Portuguese as the reason he missed out on a spot at the 2018 World Cup.
Martial has had several issues with changing his jerseys while at Manchester United and a particular incident with Mourinho seemed to hit a nerve.
“It started with the story of the shirt number,” he told France Football as quoted by RMC Sport. “During the holidays, he sent me a message asking me if I would change to No. 11, explaining that it was great because it was the number of the legend Ryan Giggs. I told him that I had the greatest respect for Giggs but that I would prefer to keep my No. 9. And when I go back to the club, I see my No. 11 shirt, the story didn’t go well.
“He disrespected me, directly. He talked about me in the press, little phrases, a bit like he had done with Karim Benzema at Real Madrid. In the [2017-18] season, I was the team’s top scorer in the first half of the season, he brought in Alexis Sanchez and then I didn’t play much. It was the World Cup season as well, and it cost me a lot at the end, especially as the French team won. I should have been there.”
After Mourinho was dismissed in 2018, Solskjaer came in as his replacement, and although Martial enjoyed a resurgence in form, he said he did all he was asked to do but felt some ‘betrayal’ from the Norwegian.
“The last two seasons, I have regularly played injured,” Martial added. “People don’t know that, I couldn’t accelerate during the four months following the COVID season. Solskjaer tells me that he needs me, so I play.
“Given my game, if I can’t accelerate, it becomes very complicated. And I get criticized — the coach never bothered to tell the media. Obviously, I end up getting injured for good and when I come back, finished, I don’t play anymore.
“I took it very badly. I had a feeling of injustice. You are asked to sacrifice yourself for the team and behind you are dismissed. For me, it’s almost treachery. That’s all I hate. I can be blamed, but not for being fake.”