Crystal Palace coach Alan Pardew said his side deliberately targeted Man United’s Anthony Martial to secure a clean sheet in their 0-0 draw.
The Eagles stopped United from scoring for a third consecutive match, in a goal drought that has many fans calling for the demotion of current centre-forward choice Wayne Rooney. Alan Pardew, for one, believes that it’s Anthony Martial (football’s most expensive teenager) that represents Louis van Gaal’s best chance of breaking the duck.
Pardew said after the match:
“We didn’t give Martial an inch today. An inch.”
“It was a big target for us to stop him and we felt if we could stop him, we could stop their creative angle. When you take into account his age, that’s some recommendation, by the way. I have to say he is an impressive young player. I think he handled himself very well today because he would have felt our presence around him and still he had moments in the game.”
Martial is still very much in the early stages of his development, and requires appropriate handling regardless of his natural talent.
“The Man United manager will have to be very, very careful I think to keep his exuberance there because we were looking to stop him today, I make no bones about that,” Pardew admitted.
Yohan Cabaye delivered a damning verdict on the Red Devil’s style of play – calling them a shadow of their former selves.
“I remember I played against them for Newcastle and they could score at every moment in a game,” he recalled.
“Here they did not have the big chances to score. Rooney had a free kick in the first half and that was about it. Yes they are a big club and yes they can keep the ball. Passes, passes, passes.”
But if you work hard against them and stay in a good shape they can’t do anything to pass through you or be adventurous.”
Van Gaal may not agree with the assertion, but it’s worth his while listening to it nonetheless.