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Football Reporting


‘Martial needs 15 goals for Manchester United to challenge’ – Neville wants No 9 to be ‘more ruthless’

The former Red Devils star was surprised that the effort from the Frenchman against Aston Villa was only his second in the Premier League this season

Anthony Martial needs to be hitting “10 to 15 goals a season” in order for Manchester United to sustain their challenge for the Premier League title, says Phil Neville.

The Red Devils have joined the frontrunners in what is shaping up to be an intriguing race for domestic supremacy in 2020-21.

In order for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to remain in that hunt, inspiration is going to be required at both ends of the field. A settled defensive unit are offering cause for optimism, while Bruno Fernandes remains a talismanic presence in the middle of the park.

Firepower has been found in the final third, with Edinson Cavani’s addition aiding that cause, but more is being demanded of Martial with the France international hitting the net just five times this term.

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Only two of those efforts have come in the Premier League, with his duck broken at Old Trafford in the narrow 2-1 win over Aston Villa last time out.

Questions have been asked on a regular basis of whether the 25-year-old is the right man to lead the line for United as their No 9, with Neville admitting that standards need to be raised.

The former United star told Premier League Productions: “I was actually surprised by that stat [of Martial’s goal record this season], I didn’t know that stat before it was said in the interview.

“He’s someone that needs to score more goals, needs to score 10 to 15 goals a season, I think he needs to be up to that mark for United to have a chance of winning the league.

“He can’t just rely on a [Marcus] Rashford or a Fernandes to score the goals. He needs to be hitting those types of figures. I’d like to see him be more ruthless.”

Martial did display predatory instincts when netting against Villa, with a clever run to the front post allowing him to glance in a cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

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Neville added: “This was a really good finish, it was a good ball from Wan-Bissaka, but the guide of the header was really good and hopefully now he can get a run of games, a run of form, a run of rhythm. He looks fitter and I want to see him go on a run now of scoring goals.”

Solskjaer has stated that he expects the floodgates to open for Martial now that he is back in the groove, with United looking for the Frenchman to replicate his efforts from 2019-20 that delivered a personal-best return of 23 goals across all competitions.

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