The knives are out for Alexis Sanchez after he failed to influence United’s draw against Wolves.
It wasn’t a one off. Sanchez has struggled since arriving at United in January.
Pundits are laying into him, and even some United fans have had enough
We refuse to pile in. Sanchez is a world class footballer and the Red Devils have not bought a dud.
This increases the pressure on the Chilean, but let’s look at two moments he has had since arriving which show his clear quality.
1) FA Cup semi-final: Sanchez changed the game against Tottenham, scoring once and taking the fight to United’s opponents in a 2-1 win.
2) Fightback against City. Paul Pogba and Chris Smalling scored the goals in a 3-2 win but it was Sanchez who was most influential.
These two moments are not enough on their own yet they demonstrate United did sign a top quality player who they need to find a way to get the best out of.
How do they do it?
Playing Sanchez on the left is not helping, it’s the biggest hinderance.
He likes to drop deep and this hurts Paul Pogba, as it’s the area he likes to foray forward into, a double negative for the team when they get in each others way.
Sanchez is a better fit on the right, where United don’t have a natural outlet.
Jose Mourinho should also experiment with playing Sanchez in a central striker role, as Arsenal Wenger did with some success at Arsenal.
This couldn’t be permanent, with Lukaku needed, but at the weekend the Belgian struggled against Wolves and Sanchez’s mobility could have posed questions which United’s number nine could not.
Sanchez must take some responsibility, and so should Jose Mourinho.
The former Arsenal and Barcelona star must dig deep, figure out what’s wrong, and work harder than he ever has done to put it right.
Yet just criticising the Chilean won’t help.
Nor will silly comments claiming he is United’s worst ever signing.
Sanchez is a clever player who can get better with age and can learn how to adapt his game as he gets older.
With support from fans and his teammates, and better management, he can still be a success.
United fans should not give up on him.