Manchester United's Anthony Martial still lacks confidence - Jose Mourinho
MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho praised Anthony Martial for his vital contribution to Manchester United's 2-0 defeat of Watford at Old Trafford but suggested the France international still lacks confidence.
Martial, starting in the Premier League for the first time since Jan. 15, set up a 32nd-minute goal for Juan Mata and scored the second on 60 minutes -- only his third Premier League strike of the current campaign, having scored 11 last season in the Premier League.
"The Anthony Martial I want is the Anthony Martial of the last two weeks of training," Mourinho said. "Because if he trains in the way he did in the last two weeks and performs naturally the way he did today or better, because I think he still misses a bit of confidence. I kept shouting to him to attack the defender. He needs that confidence but he is working very well."
Martial had started in place of fellow young forward Marcus Rashford, who played well in last week's 3-0 win at Leicester. Mourinho said: "Normally I would start with Rashford but I thought Marcus doesn't need a boost and Anthony does so I gave him this chance and he played well."
The first half, which concluded with a 1-0 scoreline, saw United have 14 shots on Watford's goal, and Mourinho suggested it was his presence that prevented his team getting more praise.
He said: "It was very good. I think it is the kind of football that if instead of being a Mourinho team it is somebody else's team you would say 'art' but because it is my team you just say it's very good, but that is fine.
"They played very well, the fans understood. They got behind them and pushed them. It was amazing. The second half we got the second goal and had to kill the game. We didn't kill with the 3-0, we killed the game tactically."
Despite victory and a 16-game unbeaten league run stretching back to losing 3-1 to Watford at Vicarage Road in September, United were unable to climb into the Premier League's top four, with Arsenal beating Hull 2-0 in Saturday's earlier game.
Mourinho, whose side have drawn nine times in the league this season, said he was waiting for his team's luck to change, adding: "Other teams are good teams, other teams are lucky teams, Hull City was lucky against us [in last week's 0-0 draw], was unlucky this afternoon [vs. Arsenal].
"We have an amazing record of being unbeaten but we should have more victories and with more victories we would be in a better position but it is what it is."
John Brewin is a staff writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JohnBrewinESPN.