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Atmosphere at Man United under Mourinho 'wasn't healthy' – Sanchez

The Chilean said he lost his confidence under the club’s former manager despite claiming the Portuguese was one of the best coaches in the world

Jose Mourinho alongside Alexis Sanchez
Jose Mourinho alongside Alexis Sanchez

ALEXIS SANCHEZ SAID former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho created an unhealthy atmosphere at Old Trafford.

Mourinho was sacked in December and replaced by caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer amid reports of dressing-room unrest at United.

Sanchez was lured from Premier League rivals Arsenal to United by Mourinho in January last year, however, the 30-year-old forward fell out of favour prior to the Portuguese’s departure.

Chile international Sanchez – who has only scored five goals in all competitions since arriving in Manchester – said he lost his confidence under Mourinho.

“Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world, in the way that he coaches, how he studies videos, the way he goes about things,” Sanchez told the BBC.

“But within the group there was that feeling that you were in the team, then out. Sometimes I didn’t play, then I did, then I didn’t and as a player you lose confidence.

“Then an atmosphere was created that wasn’t healthy.”

Sanchez, who is in doubt for United’s FA Cup fifth-round trip to Chelsea on Monday, added: “I’ve played football since I was five and if I have the ball taken away from me, it’s as if I lose my joy.”

The forward has struggled under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as well, with the current boss even claiming that he “can’t do anything about Alexis” and that the 30-year-old needs to “find himself.” 

“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 added.

“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.”

“I don’t know how people see me, but football is what I’ve loved from being a kid and it’s my passion,” Sanchez continued.

Sanchez also confirmed that he was injured after an assistant referee ran into him while warming up during United’s Champions League fixture against Ligue 1 holders PSG. The Chile international underwhelmed after replacing injured team-mate Jesse Lingard on the stroke of half-time.

“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.”

Should he be fit, Sanchez could have a big part to play for the club in the coming weeks, with both Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard set to miss out on upcoming games with Chelsea and Liverpool due to injury. 

And while Solskjaer believes there will be a chance for the former Arsenal star to show his best, he has also hinted at giving youngsters Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes opportunities to prove their value.

Aside from Chelsea and Liverpool, Manchester United will also face Crystal Palace and Southampton before heading to France for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain.

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