Gary Neville admits he is surprised to see Anthony Martial’s underwhelming goal record for Manchester United this season.
The Frenchman netted 17 times in the Premier League last season, but has been less prolific this term with Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford the main sources of goals for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
But Martial, still trusted to lead the line by Solskjaer, scored a brave header against Aston Villa to give United the lead in Friday’s victory at Old Trafford, and showed general improvements in his play.
United’s victory over Dean Smith’s side moved them level with Liverpool at the summit of the league and has sparked debate whether Solskjaer’s men can seriously challenge for their 21st domestic crown this season.
Martial has scored just two league goals in 12 appearances this term but Neville believes he needs to significantly improve on that tally for United to be considered realistic challengers.
“I was actually surprised by that stat [of Martial’s goal record this season], I didn’t know that stat before it was said in the interview,” Neville told Premier League Productions, as quoted by Football365.
“He’s someone that needs to score more goals, needs to score 10 to 15 goals a season, I think he needs to be up to that mark for United to have a chance of winning the league.
“He can’t just rely on a [Marcus] Rashford or a Fernandes to score the goals. He needs to be hitting those types of figures. I’d like to see him be more ruthless.”
Martial’s red card in the humiliating defeat to Tottenham in October disrupted his momentum and he hasn’t yet hit the form of last season.
But his goal on Friday should breed confidence and he is likely to be relied upon deliver in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Man City with Edinson Cavani serving the second of his three-game suspension.