Lisandro Martinez has revealed that he has to control his urge to try and ‘kill’ opponents on the football pitch ahead of Manchester United’s Carabao Cup final against Newcastle.
The Argentine World Cup winner has been one of the signings of the season and has been one of the Red Devils’ biggest successes in what is proving to be a memorable campaign. They have a chance to win their first piece of silverware since 2017 on Sunday.
Martinez was initially dismissed as too small to play at centre-back in the Premier League – a notion reinforced after he was physically dominated in United’s opening two games of the season against Brighton and Brentford.
But in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Martinez insisted he never cared about opinions about his character.
“To be honest, I’m fully focused here. I can’t influence [what people say], you know, it’s just an opinion,” he said.
“I understand when people say that – they’re showing me who they are, you know? That’s not my problem. I’m really happy, people are happy with me too. That’s the most important thing.
“At the beginning, in Argentina, it was the same. But it’s normal, because in football it’s not normal to play as a central defender with my height. It’s not easy either, you know – you have to work very hard.” You have to be very smart on the pitch, you have to be sharp in every situation, but if you are smart you can win duels.
“It was definitely a tough [beginning]. The way we lose was really bad. We talked in the dressing room, we said everything [we had to]. We looked at the…what do you say?…badge and said, ‘Guys, that’s not possible. We have to change it’. We immediately started changing everything – energy, in training, in combat. And then we showed a different spirit, a different energy, a different [level of] teamwork.”
Martinez has become a success in England thanks to his aggressive style, although he grinned mischievously when asked if he sometimes struggled to try to control himself.
Yeah, it’s hard…it’s really hard,” he said. “Sometimes I want to kill, but you have to control yourself too.”