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Lisandro Martinez was ‘bullied’ by Che Adams despite man of the match display

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Gabby Agbonlahor believes Lisandro Martinez was "bullied" by Che Adams, despite the Manchester United defender winning all five of his aerial duels in a man of the match performance.

The Argentine was the target of ridicule and intense criticism after starting Erik ten Hag’s side’s opening losses against Brighton and Brentford. However, the £57million summer signing has responded to repeated jibes that he is too small, not only by enjoying two monster like displays in the Red Devils’ victories over Liverpool and Southampton, but by registering the highest percentage of successful aerial duels.

He nullified all of Jurgen Klopp ’s side’s attacks at Old Trafford and enjoyed a similar display at St Mary’s to help United grind out a vital 1-0 away victory. Nevertheless, Agbonlahor remains unconvinced by Martinez.

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“When the ball was on the floor or when it was played in, he did okay today,” Agbonlahor said on talkSPORT. “But, whenever the ball was played in the air today, Che Adams had the better of him.

“Just physically, he kept on guessing to try and get in front and Che Adams would turn him, but he did win his fair share of headers today. And, it’s a clean sheet so it is hard to judge him.”

Incredibly, Martinez has proved all of his critics wrong by not only winning 100% of his aerial duels at St Mary’s, but by winning 83% of his duels in the Premier League – more than any other player in the division. The former Ajax man has been proving his 5ft 9in frame is not a hindrance to his game. However, Agbonlahor still believes Martinez will find it very difficult when he is up against the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez.

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“I feel when physical strikers start to play on him, I’m not judging him off [Roberto] Firmino who kept dropping off on Monday night. I’m going to judge him off proper strikers who are going to back into him and try to bully him and today Che Adams did a decent job.

“There were moments when Che Adams got the ball into his body and he just out-powered him. So I am thinking when he [Martinez] plays against the likes of Nunez, Haaland, these physical strikers, I think he is going to need some help.

“Maybe from a Varane, or maybe they will play a three at the back and bring Maguire in. But, a clean sheet, you can’t complain.”

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