Van Gaal tips Martial to adapt to home comforts
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said on Friday that Anthony Martial’s ability to continue his remarkable start at Old Trafford could depend on how well he settles into his first home in England.
Martial has made an impressive start to life in the Premier League since signing from Monaco at the end of August in a deal that cost £36 million ($55 million, 49 million euros) but could end up rising to £58 million.
The Frenchman, 19, has scored four goals in his first four appearances and would become the first United player to score in his first three Premier League games if he finds the net again against Sunderland, who are bottom of the table, at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Van Gaal is delighted with how Martial has handled the pressure surrounding his high profile move but believes he has been helped so far by living in a Manchester hotel.
The United manager said: “He’s still living in a hotel. It’s the first phase of his adaptation.
“He is coming in to do his training sessions, eat with the players and prepare for matches so it’s more or less the same rhythm he had when he was at Monaco – except for living in the hotel.
“That’s also a protected area. The big step will come when he settles with his wife in a new house and a new environment.
“We will wait and see how he settles into a house or an apartment when his wife might be alone with their kid and then he comes back and has to do shopping or something.
“He has to cope with that pressure and from what I have seen until now he can do it.”
Martial will be fancied to extend his scoring streak against Sunderland, who have the worst defensive record in the division.
A win would put United top of the league if Manchester City, who lead by two points, lose at Tottenham.
It would also increase the pressure on Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat, whose side is yet to win in the league this season since he reversed his decision to retire in the summer, but Van Gaal does not wish to see his fellow Dutchman suffer further.
He said: “I sympathise with the person, but not with the position.
“Dick Advocaat is a friend of mine, so not only a good colleague, but also a friend. We played together in Sparta Rotterdam, but we have seen each other many many times.
“We are calling each other, so I sympathise with the person and I hope that Sunderland shall win every game except the games against Manchester United.”
United will again be without the injured defensive trio of Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Paddy McNair as they look for a third successive league win.
Shaw is facing at least six months out with a broken leg sustained in the Champions League at PSV Eindhoven but van Gaal has been impressed with the 19-year-old’s positive outlook after starting on the road to recovery.
He said: “He was very positive. It’s amazing for me. There are very good signals. We have already started the rehabilitation. He shall be visited at home for the first electro muscle stimulants, so I think it’s very good.”