Is success the sweetest revenge for Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial?
By Joe Harker
Manchester United beat Fulham 3-0 at the weekend with goals from Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, two players who looked to have suffered most under former manager Jose Mourinho and become key players for caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Both players have a strong following among United fans and looked set to leave the club with Mourinho in charge. The manager tried to sell both players after falling out with them, reports Eurosport.
Their improved performances and the part they have played in United's larger success since Mourinho's sacking has many questioning the reputation of the manager, who has had one of the most successful careers in football.
Writing in The Independent, Jack Pitt-Brooke suggests that each good performance from Pogba and Martial is another nail in the coffin of Mourino's legacy at United.
He writes that the former United manager wanted to sell Martial and drove Pogba to the point where he considered leaving, which would have lost the club two of their best players.
If the current form of the Frenchmen is an indication of their true talent then it is a damning indictment of Mourinho's management that he could not get similar performances out of them and almost drove them away.
Throughout Mourinho's reign the question of how he could get the most out of Pogba was repeatedly asked, the answer appears to be getting rid of the manager.
Meanwhile, Martial was regularly dropped and occasionally slated by his manager for lacking maturity. Without Mourinho in the picture he consistently looks impressive and mature.
The success of Pogba and Martial since the departure of Mourinho is evidence that the manager was never the right man for the job and a strong rejection of the criticism he leveled at them.
The Counter Claim:
The difference in performance levels from these players, the former two in particular, is staggering since Mourinho was sacked. If the players had the ability to do that all along then perhaps they let their former manager down.
Pogba is having the best goalscoring season of his career and Mourinho may be wondering where such performances were when he needed good results.
Pogba has eight goals and five assists in the 10 games he has played for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has five goals and four assists in 20 games under Mourinho this season.
Martial has provided 33 goals and 17 assists in 106 Premier League games for United, meaning he has hit the milestone of contributing to 50 league goals in 12 games fewer than Cristiano Ronaldo.
United have won 10 of their 11 games since Mourinho was sacked, drawing once. Their former manager has yet to find another job, instead making a few appearances as a pundit.