Former Manchester United midfielder and current Maccabi Tel Aviv manager Jordi Cruyff has noted that Jose Mourinho dropping Alexis Sanchez would be the best thing for the Chilean.
The 29-year-old angered supporters with a lukewarm attacking performance during Man United’s 2-1 defeat to Sevilla on Tuesday night.
He has now managed just one goal and two assists in ten starts since arriving in January, and many supporters, in response, have called for him to be left out.
And Cruyff, speaking in the aftermath of United’s horror show against the La Liga side, noted that leaving out Sanchez should not be perceived as a problem.
“It shouldn’t be a problem to leave a player out of the team,” he said. “Messi sits on the bench now and then for Barcelona, not too often but it does happen. Sometimes it’s a question of adaptation. Sometimes you have these adaptation issues.”
“He came to the club with a fanfare and on a lot of money to a very big club. It takes some time to adapt.
“His quality is undoubtable and there is also no doubt that if he becomes available again 50 clubs are going to be after him.
“I really think he’s a great addition to the Man United squad and he signed on a long-term contract, so you’ve got to give these kind of players some time to adapt.
“With Alexis Sanchez it’s not a question of ‘if’ and ‘but’, it’s a question of when it’s all going to come together, because he’s a magnificent player.”
It was generally thought that Sanchez, having unhappily claimed eight goals for Arsenal during the first half of the season, would simply kick on in similar fashion at Old Trafford.
But this has not been the case. Sanchez has been a buzzing, curious, occasionally dangerous but more often confusing force in United’s attack – a player who seems very alone on the pitch – and there do not seem to be any clear answers as to how Mourinho correctly moulds him into his attack.
That said, moving to a new club in January, we should remember, is a remarkably difficult thing to do: no pre-season, no time to steadily acclimatise to your teammates and new home – just straight onto the training ground and in the lineup for this weekend. There is a reason why managers generally prefer not to make January reinforcements.
Supporters will need to be patient. As Cruyff correctly notes: Sanchez is simply too good – too seasoned as a creator and goalscorer in this division – to forever descend into mediocrity.