Football News

Van Persie: Sanchez’s Man Utd struggles a product of Mourinho’s defensive style

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 10:19, 5 August 2019

Former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has blamed ex-manager Jose Mourinho for Alexis Sanchez’s poor form. 

Sanchez swapped London for Manchester six years after Van Persie famously did the same. The Dutchman won the Premier League in his first season at Old Trafford, but Sanchez has not had similar fortunes.

Sanchez struggles to settle: Five things to know…

  • Alexis Sanchez joined Man Utd in January 2018 from Arsenal, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way.
  • Sanchez wears the iconic No 7 jersey at Old Trafford.
  • He has managed just five goals in 45 appearances for the Red Devils.
  • Sanchez’s future is in doubt after just over a year-and-a-half at the club.
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has used Daniel James more than Sanchez in pre-season.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Van Persie discussed the Chilean’s underwhelming spell at Old Trafford and offered an explanation behind it.

He said: “It’s a different time.

“Over the past couple of years, a lot has changed. There are a lot of impressions from fans, from social media, he is constantly getting hit about his wages. It’s negative, so he starts negative, and maybe that is difficult.”

Van Persie perhaps gave a taste of what is to come from his upcoming punditry role at BT Sport with an analysis on the United team that Sanchez came into.

He added: “For him, it was difficult because he was coming into a defensive playing team.

“I came into a team with all the mature players there already: Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick. At Arsenal, I was one of the older ones, captain, and here I could just come in and have fun because the guys sorted all the other stuff beside it.

“Mentally, I was just having fun. I was happy, I was just enjoying it, really. I did not think about the consequences. I was not using social media back then, so I was not really bothered about what people said. When I went outside it was all positive so I was in my own little bubble of being happy.”

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Is next season Sanchez’s last chance?

Under Mourinho, Sanchez became something of an embodiment of United’s poor form. In a team lacking in confidence and flair, Sanchez looked an entirely different player to the one that had scored 24 Premier League goals for Arsenal during 2016/17.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it clear that he plans to make youth the cornerstone of his team, something which may concern Sanchez. He turns 31 in December and his enormous wages means that he is not someone United can afford to employ for the long term.

Sanchez, of course, has proved in the past that he can be one of the best players in the league on his day. If he can rediscover his form, it could give United a whole new dimension.