• Martial more confident and consistent – Lloris

    Anthony Martial of Manchester United

    France captain Hugo Lloris believes Anthony Martial’s confidence has increased since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment as Manchester United coach, while coach Didier Deschamps feels the forward has become more consistent.

    Martial had previously struggled to nail down a regular place in the starting XI at Old Trafford, but began to excel after Solksjaer replaced Jose Mourinho at the helm last December.

    The 24-year-old scored 17 goals in all competitions after the Norwegian’s arrival and France team-mate Lloris has noticed a difference in him.

    ‘I don’t know if it’s related to his relationship with Solskjaer. We can see he is more confident,’ the Tottenham goalkeeper told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Nations League tie against Croatia.

    ‘There is a very good understanding with the players around him at Manchester United.

    ‘He will be expected, he will have to confirm his good season. He is committed to doing well for five, 10 minutes, a half or a whole game.’

    Deschamps has also been impressed by the former Monaco star’s improvement.

    ‘He’s capable of playing in the wing also, but in Manchester he’s really a number nine,’ he said.

    ‘He may not have the typical profile of a centre-forward although he has that versatility there. In recent months he has gained in regularity and constancy.’

    France will face Croatia for the first time since they beat them 4-2 in the 2018 World Cup final.

    But Lloris expects a completely different game and does not expect the game from two years ago to hold any significance as they meet in the Stade de France.

    ‘We don’t take this match as revenge. It’s another context, another competition. It will be a whole different game,’ he said.

    ‘We expect the Croatian team to be a little damaged in pride after the defeat to Portugal (4-1). We will try to build on the victory against Sweden.

    ‘We would have liked to play in front of our supporters but it’s still an advantage when you play at home. We know that they will be in front of their television encouraging us.

    ‘The choices belong to the coach. Whether it’s on the starting XI or the tactical plan, we will adapt. The last 48 hours have been focused on recovery. We still have 24 hours to get our legs good again.’

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