Louis van Gaal warned Manchester United’s supporters not to expect too much too quickly from Anthony Martial after the youngster marked his debut with the final goal in their 3-1 defeat of Liverpool.
Martial’s dramatic impact as a second-half substitute offered an indication of why United have made him the costliest teenager in world football, signed for £36m, potentially rising to £58m, but Van Gaal intimated he would keep the Frenchman on the bench for Tuesday’s Champions League game against PSV Eindhoven.
“It is fantastic, I cannot deny that, but he is still only 19‚” Van Gaal said. “He has to adapt to a new culture and to the high rhythm of the Premier League. It was the right moment to let him play. He scored a fantastic goal, he has pace to dribble and his finish was fantastic.
“Still, you cannot expect that players this age have consistency. You can ask that from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick, but not players of 19. When you score a goal like Anthony has, you cannot wish for more. We wanted him because he’s the best in his age. But he needs time. He’s been with us for three days and that is too short to judge his personality, but he has made a very good impression.”
Daley Blind opened the scoring for United early in the second half before Ander Herrera doubled the lead from the penalty spot. Christian Benteke’s spectacular goal made it 2-1, but Martial’s fine run and shot ended any hopes of a comeback, leaving Brendan Rodgers critical of his players. “I’m disappointed with the result and the performance,” the Liverpool manager said. “We needed to be much better technically.”
Wayne Rooney missed the match with a hamstring injury and will not be involved in Holland in midweek. “I don’t want to take any risks with our captain.” Van Gaal said. “He is much too important for our team, so I don’t think he shall play against PSV. It is a minor injury and I believe he shall play against Southampton next weekend.”