Jose Mourinho has insisted that Alexis Sanchez “has to play” for Manchester United against San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.
The Chilean didn’t travel with the Man United squad to California last weekend amid complications with acquiring a Visa due to a suspended prison sentence he is currently serving for tax fraud.
It was confirmed by the club on Thursday that Sanchez, despite initial fears he’d miss the whole tour, had been granted entry into the U.S.
Speaking after the 1-1 draw with Club America last night, Mourinho was adamant that Sanchez would start the game against San Jose.
“It is not about when he can [play], but when he has to,” he said.
“We have no players and especially in attack we have no players, today was [Anthony] Martial and when Martial left the pitch was [Juan] Mata and when Mata went to the sides it was a kid that was a first time he trained with us in this preseason.
“No [Romelu] Lukaku, no [Marcus] Rashford, not here and probably not the start of the Premier League, so is about when Alexis lands and when he lands he has to play because he trained with us five days before we depart to LA and we left one fitness coach behind with him.
“Of course it is individual training but when he arrives he has to play. If he’s coming he has to play.”
Sanchez boarded his private jet ahead of the 11-hour flight to California on Friday afternoon and will, in turn, join up with his teammates in the evening ahead of training on Saturday morning.
Mourinho desperately wanted Sanchez to join the tour sooner rather than later and his wish has been duly granted. The 55-year-old stated ahead of the Club America game that Alexis would start against Leicester City alongside Anthony Martial and Juan Mata. He can now start to work with them as an attacking triumvirate ahead of what promises to be a testing opening to the 2018/19 campaign with so many key players missing.