The Frenchman admits he was out to prove the Portuguese gaffer wrong after falling down the squad pecking order during his reign in the club.

Anthony Martial has revealed his frustration over being openly criticised for his performances by Jose Mourinho when he was responsible for Manchester United.

Mourinho was drafted into triumph Louis van Gaal from the Old Trafford hot seat a little under four decades back, and he promptly set about stamping his own mark on the squad.

Martial enjoyed a prominent role under the Portuguese originally, but he gradually fell out of favour and ended the 2016-17 effort with only 18 Premier League starts to his name.

Romelu Lukaku’s coming in Manchester ensured Martial stayed on the fringes of this action the next season, which saw the Red Devils finish runners up in the top flight supporting Manchester City.

Mourinho was finally sacked in December 2018, amid rumours of discord within the walls of the dressing room and an alarming drop in the group’s performance levels.

The 57-year-old tactician frequently singled out members of the United squad for criticism in interviews and press conferences, with Martial’s demeanour and perceived lack of work frequently called into question.

The Frenchman remembers being encouraged to prove Mourinho incorrect, admitting he was angered by his manager’s remarks from the media.

“It is true that I would have preferred it if he had told me directly, there is no need to say it in front of everyone.

“He did not start me during the first couple of games and every time I came on, I scored. In the long run, he explained:’You see, you now know what I wanted’.

Martial managed to recover a regular place in United’s line-up after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over, together with the Norwegian placing his faith in the 24-year-old and Marcus Rashford after determining to offload Romelu Lukau and Alexis Sanchez last summer.

Injuries disrupted Martial’s beginning into the new year, however, with Rashford having to shoulder the major goalscoring burden for United in his absence.

The roles have been reversed since the turn of this year but Martial has fought to direct the line on his own with Rashford sidelined until April because of a stress fracture in his spine.

Solskjaer chose to bring in Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua in January so as to increase his attacking options, with a Critical clash against Chelsea up next on February 17.

The United boss has verified that Ighalo will be included in his squad to face the Blues, which could indicate that Martial’s place in the starting XI comes under threat.