Martial set challenge by Mourinho to earn Manchester United starting role

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The Portuguese manager says he cannot justify leaving Henrikh Mkhitaryan out of the starting XI in order to field the France international

Anthony Martial has been challenged to "perform better" by Jose Mourinho if he wants to be a regular starter at Manchester United.

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The France international has been in and out of the team under Mourinho this season and has started just nine games in the Premier League.

He was given an opportunity in the FA Cup fourth-round tie against Wigan Athletic last weekend and provided two assists in the 4-0 home victory.

However, Martial looks likely to return to the substitutes’ bench for Wednesday’s Premier League game against Hull City at Old Trafford as United seek to boost their top-four aspirations.

Mourinho has confirmed Henrikh Mkhitaryan will start against Hull and the United boss has outlined what Martial needs to do to get back into the team on a permanent basis.

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"Do you want me to leave Micki out after him being Man of the Match and playing so well as he did?" said Mourinho ahead of the Hull game. 

"I can’t! I think the players pick themselves, I’m just here to analyse what they do and to try to be fair with them. After such a good performance, Micki has to play. It’s simple."

Regarding Martial, the Portuguese added: "He has to perform better than the others that are competing with him for the same positions. His position is where we have lots of options.”