Manchester United will not face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup final on March 1, despite their best efforts on Wednesday night.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, 3-1 down from the first leg at Old Trafford, sealed a 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium thanks to Nemanja Matic’s first-half strike.
Matic was then sent off with 15 minutes remaining and this effectively ended United’s hopes of scoring a second goal.
Marcus Rashford was out injured, so the onus was on Anthony Martial to threaten Man City’s makeshift defence.
With Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho out injured, Pep Guardiola lined up with Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi and Joao Cancelo in a back-three.
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But, much to the frustration of United supporters, Martial was unable to make an impact.
The Manchester Evening News rated the French forward, who played the entire 90 minutes, as United’s worst-performing player.
Handed a 3/10 rating, the MEN’s Samuel Luckhurst added: “Barely got into the game all night against a threadbare City defence deprived of Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte.”
Even Jesse Lingard received a 4/10 from the same publication.
After the game, United fans were convinced that Solskjaer took a not-so-subtle dig at Martial in his post-match press conference.
Per the Evening Standard’s James Robson and others, Solskjaer told reporters: “I want a striker who wants to break his nose to score a goal.”
Robson took this as Solskjaer revealing he wants another striker to come in before the transfer window closes on Friday.
Perhaps he was - although United fans also believe it was indirect criticism aimed at Martial...
Solskjaer clearly doesn’t believe that Martial is the type of striker who is desperate to score goals. He’d probably like him to be, but does the Frenchman possess that hunger and desire to get in the box and score 25-30 goals a season?
His best-ever goals tally in a season since arriving at Old Trafford happened in his debut campaign with the Red Devils, when he netted 17 in 49 games.
Since then, he’s scored eight in 42, 11 in 45, 12 in 38 and currently has 12 in 27 this term.
United fans, already pleased that Solskjaer shouted at Lingard for giving the ball away too many times against City, were equally happy with the Norwegian coach’s ‘sly dig’ at Martial…
The same set of supporters clearly feel that Martial deserves criticism for his disappointing performance against City.
The 24-year-old has regularly underwhelmed since joining United from AS Monaco in 2015.
While there have been many brilliant moments from the hugely-talented France international, there’s always been a feeling that Martial could, and should, be so much better - if only he wanted it more.News Now - Sport News