Jose Mourinho is keen to make sure Anthony Martial develops into a “top player” at Manchester United and not somewhere else.
The Frenchman is in talks with United about extending his current deal that is due to expire in 2020 if the club trigger their one-year extension. After a run of four goals in his last four games, Mourinho believes the 22-year-old is on the verge of becoming one of the best players in the world and the Portuguese coach wants to ensure United get the benefit of his peak years.
“I hope they will agree,” Mourinho told a news conference on Friday. “Obviously I hope. One thing is that he’s a talented player that everybody knows he is. Everybody knows since he was in Monaco that he is a talented player.
“Another thing is a talented player with consistency and understanding what a football match is in the globality.
“When you reach that level, or when you are almost reaching that level, that is when you become a top player.
“One thing is top talent, another is a top player. He is now much closer to being a top player. Obviously I would like him to stay. I know the club wants him very much to stay. Hopefully he is going to stay.”
Martial has been the bright spark of a United forward line that has struggled for goals this season. Mourinho’s team have managed just 17 in 10 Premier League games so far this season — 10 fewer than top scorers Manchester City. It has not helped that both Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford have hit barren runs.
Lukaku has gone nine games without a goal — his longest spell without finding the net since moving to Old Trafford — while Rashford has managed one in 10 appearances this term. They face a Bournemouth side on Saturday who have not conceded a league goal for more than a month but Mourinho is confident United’s form in front of goal will return soon.
“I don’t like to say we don’t score many goals because our strikers aren’t scoring,” he said. “I don’t like to say we concede too many goals because my goalkeeper does not save anything. I think it is about the globality. It is about the team. We need obviously to score more goals.
“Yes, we need to score more goals but I think the team with more confidence, the players individually with more confidence, and more goals will arrive for them.
“Lukaku doesn’t score for nine matches. Do I think in the next nine matches he’s going to score zero goals? No, I think in the next nine matches he’s going to score a few goals.”