Man United’s Solskjaer: Martial poor form due to fatigue

Beside Bruno Fernandes, Shaka Hislop sees one other positive for Manchester United from their draw vs. Wolves.
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A scoreless draw means Man United and Wolves miss a chance to gain crucial points towards the top four.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Anthony Martial and said the forward’s form is suffering because of tiredness.

Martial has not scored a Premier League goal since the 4-0 win over Norwich on Jan. 11 and was on the end of criticism for his performance in the goalless draw with Wolves on Saturday.

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However, Solskjaer has said he is “delighted” with the 24-year-old while putting the dip in form down to playing too many games.

“He’s giving us everything,” Solskjaer said. “He’s been asked now to play — I think he’s started the last seven games — in this month, and he’s running probably 20% more than what he did when I came here.

“As a striker, if you don’t just get there that split second, that’s a big, massive difference, and I’ve praised him, I’ve sat down with him and I’m delighted with him, and I know that he’s tired, but he’s never ever — how do you say it? — dodged a training session.

“He’s training, he’s available for every game, [I’m] delighted with the boy.”

Solskjaer is hoping the winter break and a warm weather training camp in Spain will help revitalise Martial, who has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season.

Marcus Rashford will not travel with the squad while he continues his recovery from a back injury but Odion Ighalo is set to begin training with his new teammates after his deadline day loan move from Shanghai Shenhua.

“We’ll give him [Martial] more support, give him rest when he deserves it, ” Solskjaer added.

“If he does have that rest, if he plays a little bit less, because he’s been asked to play too much as well, especially now when Marcus is injured.”

On Saturday, Solskjaer watched his team fail to score for a third straight Premier League game against Wolves to leave themselves sixth in the table and six points off the top four.

One positive for the Norwegian was debutant Bruno Fernandes, who has been getting help from compatriot Diogo Dalot as he begins settling in at Old Trafford following his move from Sporting Lisbon.

“He has played abroad a lot of years,” Dalot said. “He’s an experienced player and you knew he could come here and do a great job.

“For me it was not a surprise and I think that he is going to show us a lot more that he did today but it was a fantastic debut for him.

“I had Portuguese coaches and staff when I came and they helped me a lot and when he came I try to do the same because he had a Portuguese guy, a player that he knew. I’m just trying to help him settle in with the whole team.”