Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has cast some doubt over the futures of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford amid transfer speculation linking them with Chelsea.
The duo were given rare starts against Brighton on Friday night but failed to impress as the Red Devils were shocked with a 1-0 defeat to Chris Hughton’s side as they secured Premier League survival in some style.
With Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez absent for United against the Seagulls, Martial and Rashford had a real chance to send a message to Mourinho with big performances, but they were sadly found wanting.
The Daily Star, meanwhile, have also linked Chelsea as one of a number of admirers of England ace Rashford, who would command a fee of £100m as United would rather not sell.
However, Mourinho’s quotes after the Brighton game suggest he feels justified in not using the pair, which may perhaps open up the possibility of summer exits if they truly cannot work their way into the first-team on a regular basis.
‘The players that replaced others they didn’t perform at a good level and when individuals don’t perform at a good level, then it’s difficult for the team to perform at a good level,’ Mourinho is quoted by the Daily Mirror.
‘Now you understand why some players play more than others.’
In fairness to Martial and Rashford, they would not be the first and likely won’t be the last young attacking players to struggle under Mourinho, whose management style hasn’t always lent itself well to either trusting inexperienced talents, or to allowing flair players the freedom to express themselves.
If reports of Chelsea’s interest are accurate, they may want to take notice of Mourinho’s words last night – either as a sign that they could be available or as a warning that they might not be worth the investment after all.