09 Mar Jose Mourinho: Alexis Sanchez will show his best form next season
Jose Mourinho admits he is not getting the best out of Alexis Sanchez but rejected the notion that his high-profile January signing could be hindering Manchester United.
The 29-year-old’s move from Arsenal to Manchester had long been expected but joining the Red Devils instead of Pep Guardiola’s City sent shock waves around the transfer market.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was part of a January swap deal that has not brought immediate returns as, despite being named United’s man of the match in two of his first three games, the Chilean yet to get anywhere near his high standards.
Sanchez was particularly poor in Monday’s 3-2 comeback win at Crystal Palace, where he gave away possession 19 times in a dreadful first half at Selhurst Park.
Asked if he was getting the best out of Sanchez, Mourinho said: “No.
“What is wrong is that he came in the worst moment of the season, which is the winter market. That’s why I don’t like the winter market very, very much.
“I think this was a chance that we didn’t want to lose, and we made it.
“But we don’t believe a lot in the winter market and for sure next season will be better for him.
“But, of course, he is learning how to play with us and we are learning how to get the best out of him.”
Sanchez has started all eight matches since joining United, but Mourinho has yet to find a way of effectively shoehorning him into his attack.
The United boss says it is “great” that the forward is perhaps trying too much – “not afraid to take responsibilities, not afraid to try things to happen,” he said – and baulked at the suggestion he was weakness.
“No,” the United boss said.
“That’s something that we can develop, and we are going to develop with time, with experience and living these experiences together.
“I don’t consider that a weakness, I consider that a huge potential to be developed.”
Asked what the weaknesses of his team are, Mourinho retorted: “I don’t tell you. But if you ask the oracles, the oracles will tell you.”
Gary Neville and Graeme Souness have criticised United recently, with Mourinho appearing to take aim at them in his pre-Liverpool press conference by saying some pundits were unable to “resolve their own problems when they were managers”.
However, Mourinho kept quiet when it came to the subject of his deal with RT for the World Cup in the light of possible Russian links to the nerve agent poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Russia has denied responsibility for the attack in Salisbury and the United boss appeared taken aback by a question on whether the incident made a difference to his relationship with the Russian government-funded station.
The press officer stepped in to say “we’re not here to talk about that” before the manager asked “do you have another question to replace?”
As Mourinho prepared to walk out, a question was quickly put to him about the fact all three previous matches against Liverpool have ended as a draw, leading to criticism over his approach at Anfield in particular.
“We want to win every match and it doesn’t matter the approach, we want to win every match,” he said.
“Against Liverpool in these three matches we had one bad result and two good results. That’s my feeling.”
Second-place United enter the weekend two points better off than Liverpool in third, but Jurgen Klopp’s attack-minded side have attracted the lion’s share of plaudits this term.
“They have qualities and they have weaknesses,” Mourinho said. “We have qualities and we have weaknesses.
“One of my good qualities as a coach was always to know very, very well my team’s weaknesses and sometimes I try to hide them and sometimes I have to try to compensate them with other things.
“But Liverpool is Liverpool and we are what we.”