Alexis Sanchez wants to showcase his best at Old Trafford, where the forward has struggled to hit top gear
Manchester United star Sanchez has admitted to being utterly shambolic during his first year at Old Trafford, and the inability to bring more joy to the Premier League club and its fans has left him ‘worried’. The former Arsenal star has struggled for form and fitness since arriving in January last year, and the 30-year-old has managed five goals as a United player.
His poor form hit a nadir when caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he could not do more to help Sanchez after the former Barcelona star’s miserable night in Tuesday’s 2-0 first-leg loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. But with Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round meeting with Chelsea looming, the Chilean said he is determined to showcase his best at Old Trafford.
“He (Solskjaer) hasn’t spoken to me a great deal about what I have to do on the pitch, but I think I’m an experienced player and I think I know what I need to do and what I shouldn’t do,” Sanchez told the BBC. “I’m a player that, if I’m not in contact with the ball, I lose that spark, and sometimes I want to play in every game. You’re in, you’re out, and I’m used to playing. It’s not an excuse because if I go on for 10, 20 minutes, I have to perform because that’s what I’m here for, to make a difference. I would like to have brought more joy to the club. Yes, it worries me because I believe in my abilities as a player, I want to show it.”
Sanchez was also at pains to point out that he still has the drive to perform at the highest level. “I don’t know how people see me, but football is what I’ve loved from being a kid and it’s my passion,” he added. After putting in another underwhelming display after replacing injured teammate Jesse Lingard on the stroke of half-time against PSG, the star admitted that he had picked up a knock after an assistant referee ran into him while warming up during the game, though he was quick to downplay the impact on his performance.
“The referee’s assistant, when we had a counter-attack, came flying down the line, and I had my foot there and he crashed into me. Bang,” Sanchez said. “And I went back to the dugout and I said to (reserve goalkeeper) Sergio Romero: ‘I’ve just been whacked and I’m about to go on’. I’ve got bruising but that’s not an excuse for not being on my game in the way that I normally am.”
While in most cases, and certainly expected if Sanchez did it, players would have revealed their discontent and dissatisfaction at the way things were going when not in the best of form, the fact that the forward chose to stress on how he could improve and speak frankly of his underwhelming tenure so far at Old Trafford so far is refreshing. One hopes that the marauder version of Sanchez, who terrorised defences during his time at the Emirates makes an appearance against a struggling Chelsea side, instead of the one who seems to have lost all drive and ambition on display over the past year in Manchester. He still has a lot to offer this United team, and a healthy, firing Sanchez is always good news for his team, and terrible news for opponents.