Jose Mourinho has aimed yet another underhand dig at one of his own players - with Anthony Martial the latest to be thrown under the bus by the under-fire boss after a lacklustre display at West Ham.
Since the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, Martial has found playing time limited at Old Trafford and before the defeat at the London Stadium, had only started two games this season. He was surprisingly reinstated to the first team after calls from sections of Manchester United supporters, but was powerless as a terrible performance led to a 3-1 defeat.
'The Special One' has been engaged in a highly publicised battle with the media in recent weeks and insists he is answering all the questions thrown at him but this week appeared to ignite a battle with sections of the home support.
"For how many months people are saying that Alexis Sanchez is not playing well enough? So this week was time to agree, and to say ‘let’s give a chance to Martial and let’s leave Alexis out,'" the Portuguese boss told reporters.
"I left Sanchez out and I think that Martial is not a player who is very, very focused on his defensive duties. To play him as a second striker and trying to cover the area of Declan Rice would be much easier for him. And at the same time I think we need quality on the ball, building up from the back. Scott McTominay has that."
Mourinho has endured a turbulent relationship with Martial and was annoyed with the France international’s decision to return late to United’s pre-season training this summer following the birth of his son.
The Manchester United boss's surprise inclusion of Martial failed to pay off with Felipe Anderson giving West Ham the lead after just five minutes before Andriy Yarmolenko’s effort deflected off of Victor Lindelof doubled their advantage before half time.
Marcus Rashford did pull a goal back in the second half but Marko Arnautovic’s strike secured a deserved 3-1 win for Manuel Pellegrini’s side and condemned the Red Devils to record their worst league start in 29 years leaving the players looking glum arriving back in Manchester.
They have 10 points from seven games - the same as in 2013-14 under David Moyes - but inferior goal difference means this is their worst top-flight start since 1989.