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Manchester United logo
Premier League | Gameweek 16
Dec 9, 2023 at 3pm UK
Old Trafford
Bournemouth logo
Man Utd
0 - 3
Bournemouth

Reguilon (30'), Hojlund (60'), Fernandes (84')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Solanke (5'), Billing (68'), Senesi (73')
Tavernier (27')

Erik ten Hag defends Anthony Martial amid latest round of criticism

Ten Hag defends Martial amid latest round of criticism
© Reuters
Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag defends Anthony Martial following another lacklustre performance from the attacker.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has defended Anthony Martial following another lacklustre performance from the Frenchman.

The 28-year-old was a surprise starter against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, with the ex-Monaco youngster preferred to Rasmus Hojlund as the centre-forward.

Hojlund is yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League this season, but he has five goals in the Champions League, and the Denmark international has largely been the first pick through the middle since his came into the side at the start of September.

Martial scored in a positive performance against Everton at the end of November, but he struggled against Newcastle United last weekend before being left out against Chelsea last week.

The forward was given another start against Bournemouth, but he lasted just 56 minutes, and there were some cheers from the home supporters when he was substituted early in the second period.

Manchester United's Anthony Martial looks dejected after the match on August 19, 2023© Reuters

Martial's contract at Old Trafford is due to expire next June, although there is the option for the club to activate an extension to take him until the end of the 2024-25 campaign.

Ten Hag was asked about the attacker's latest disappointing performance after the clash with Bournemouth, and the Dutchman leapt to his player's defence, insisting that the team "failed all together" in the three-goal home defeat to the Cherries.

"Two weeks ago, against Everton, he played a very good game. He has 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. As a group, we failed all together," said the manager on Saturday.

Goals have been a real problem for Man United in the Premier League this season, only finding the back of the net on 18 occasions in their 16 matches.

Manchester United attacker Rasmus Hojlund after picking up an injury on November 11, 2023© Reuters

The Red Devils have the worst attacking record in the top 14 teams in the Premier League, with Scott McTominay their leading goalscorer in England's top flight this term on five.

Marcus Rashford has only registered twice in the league this term, while it is now 12 appearances for Hojlund in the competition without finding the back of the net.

Ten Hag also claimed during his press conference that his side "are not good enough to be consistent" in a damning assessment.

"I think as a squad we are not good enough to be consistent and we have to work as a squad to improve that," the manager said on Saturday.

Man United will be back in action at home to Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening, needing to beat the Bundesliga champions to stand any chance of progressing to the last-16 stage of the Champions League.

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