Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford need to score more tap-ins in order to reach the extraordinary heights of Cristiano Ronaldo, says Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
France forward Martial has been in fine form since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December and was rewarded with a new contract until June 2024 on Thursday.
Solskjaer believes Martial’s extension is a signal of strength from the in-form Red Devils, who have won eight and drawn one in all competitions under the Norwegian, and tipped the 23-year-old to fulfil his undoubted potential at United.
However, Solskjaer challenged Martial and fellow forward Rashford to increase their effectiveness in front of goal if they are to emulate Old Trafford great and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo.
“That [emulating Ronaldo] is up to any player if you make a decision on how to develop your own career,” he said.
“Cristiano was the best, the way he’s changed to now. That’s part of any player, you’ve got to model yourself on someone, but you’ve got to have more challenges ahead of you and for Marcus and Anthony it is to score more simple tap-ins.
“He [Martial] has the capability [to score 20 goals in a season] but I’d like him to make a few more runs in behind, because he doesn’t miss chances, he’s a fantastic finisher.
“He needs to get more chances, you’ve got to read and sniff wherever there’s a chance, maybe some scruffy goals at times. Him and Marcus score loads of worldie goals but those tap-ins and making them runs could go a long way to do that.”
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Martial, who is expected to be fit for selection against Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday having missed the midweek 2-2 draw with Burnley, and Rashford have largely competed for a spot on the left of a front three throughout their fledgling careers, but Solskjaer sees no reason why the pair cannot forge a partnership in the same line-up.
“Yeah, it’s healthy competition but they can also create a relationship and get an understanding of each other because both are very good coming in off the left,” added Solskjaer, who also expects Paul Pogba to face the Foxes having picked up a knock versus Burnley.
“If one plays central then it’s opposite movements because they go out to in, but when they play central they go in to out, so in the coming years we’ll see loads of combinations between those two.”
Asked if Martial signing a new contract could convince goalkeeper David de Gea to do likewise, Solskjaer replied: “The club’s working on a few players.
“I don’t know how far but it’s a statement from the club that we want to keep our best players. I hope so.”
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