Manchester United coach Kieran McKenna made the choice to move Anthony Martial into a defensive role for the final minutes of the club’s 1-1 draw with Everton on Sunday, reports say. The France international endured a frustrating afternoon at Goodison Park, struggling to make an impact.
Manchester United star Martial was a doubt for the Everton showdown before the game, having missed the club’s emphatic 5-0 win over Club Brugge just days earlier.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made the big decision to throw him into the starting line-up against the Toffees on Sunday.
Martial endured a frustrating game for United, failing to score for the first time in four matches.
And towards the end he was moved into a defensive role.
This, The Athletic say, was a decision made by coach McKenna – who noticed the Frenchman tiring late on.
And Martial’s contribution was vital to United keeping the Toffees at bay amid a late siege on their goal.
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Everton feel they should have had all three points – with Dominic Calvert-Lewin having a late goal chalked off.
The 22-year-old’s strike deflected off Harry Maguire and trickled past David De Gea in the United goal.
But referee Chris Kavanagh chose to disallow it with help from VAR, with Gylfi Sigurdsson adjudged to have been interfering with play from an offside position.
It was a decision that angered Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti, who received his marching orders after confronting Kavanagh on the field after the game.
And Everton hitman Calvert-Lewin labelled the call to scrap the goal a ‘disaster’.
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“That is a disaster,” he said said, when shown the goal immediately after the game.
“Oh my gosh. He’s not even obstructing the line of sight.”
Calvert-Lewin then reiterated his claim, adding: “In the moment, I wasn’t sure. Seeing it back I think Gylfi on the floor doesn’t obstruct the line of sight.
“Fair enough, he’s in an offside position but then it takes a deflection, the keeper is going the other way and he’s got his legs out of the way.
“The keeper is never going to save the ball so I’m not sure what it is.
“For me, as a striker, I think it’s a goal but VAR says otherwise and cancels out the emotion at the end. What can you do?”
Everton boss Ancelotti vowed to keep his conversation with Kavanagh private after the game.
“I asked the referee to explain after the game and then he sent me off the pitch. After that I spoke with him, had a conversation and this conversation we will keep private,” the Italian said.
“It was a borderline situation in the sense that Gylfi was offside, but in our opinion he didn’t affect the vision of the goalkeeper.
“It’s really difficult to decide but anyway the game is finished, it’s a draw and we played really well. I’m happy with this.”
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