Martial stars as Manchester United beats Watford 2-0
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Anthony Martial scored one goal and set up the other in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday that extended the team's unbeaten run in the Premier League to 16 games.
United manager Jose Mourinho has called on Martial to show improvement with so many other wide players competing for places in the team, and the France winger responded in style at Old Trafford.
Martial provided the low cross that Juan Mata converted from the edge of the six-yard box in the 32nd minute.
The 21-year-old Martial scored his third league goal of the season when he was set free by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, before cutting in from the left and beating Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes at his near post with a low shot in the 60th.
Martial joined United for an initial fee of 36 million pounds ($55.5 million) in 2015 — making him the world's most expensive teenager — and was the club's top scorer in his first season, but has been in and out of the team under Mourinho. Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young are other wide players in Mourinho's squad.
"Martial deserves the chance," Mourinho said. "He has worked harder than ever in the last two weeks in the way I like — silence but hard."
The win kept United in touch with the top four as six teams go for four qualification places for next season's Champions League.
"Sixteen games unbeaten is an amazing record but it would be the perfect record with two or three fewer draws at home," Mourinho said. "It was a difficult match and a very important win for us.
"We are not a team scoring lots of goals so it is important to keep the clean sheets. I am really happy with performance."
Watford had won its previous two games, including a 2-1 victory at Arsenal, but was well-beaten at Old Trafford.