An early goal from Marcus Rashford, made possible by a great pass by Michael Carrick and the subsequent assist by Juan Mata, ensured that United tasted victory in what has been repeatedly put down as a below-par showing from the club this season.
The Red Devils also bid farewell to the retiring Carrick, who delivered an emotional yet hopeful address after the full-time whistle, following which the players and their family did the customary parade around the ground.
However, throughout the match, the most noticeable squad absentee was Anthony Martial. The Frenchman was expected to start, and Mourinho had said as much after last week’s game.
The starlet is already shrouded in rumors of an exit, with the likes of Juventus, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich linked with purchasing him in the summer, and as of such, the absence was very suspicious indeed.
Several fans believed that him being left out of the squad entirely meant that his exit was all but assured. In fact, reports were circulating during the fixture that Martial had in fact driven away from the ground prior to the game.
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However, Mourinho as well as the club have clarified that this wasn’t the case at all. When quizzed on the prospect, Mourinho stated that these reports are “not true” and that the 22-year-old’s absence was due to a knee injury he received in training on Friday.
The club, in a statement on its website, said the following: “Martial wasn’t in the 17 on duty after picking up an injury, which forced him to sit out Saturday’s training session.”
This makes him a doubt for the FA Cup final against Chelsea as well.
While this update does quell the fear that fans held, it doesn’t change the fact that the youngster might still be frustrated with the lack of game-time and elect to leave after all.