Champions League: Can Sanchez stop the Old Lady from singing?
In-form Chilean midfielder can repay Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho's faith by delivering a crucial away win against Ronaldo's Juventus tonight
Alexis Sanchez has endured a torrid start to his Manchester United career but hinted at better things to come with an impressive display in a central role ahead of the Champions League match against Juventus. Manchester United were outplayed during a 0-1 defeat at Old Trafford two weeks ago that left them five points adrift of the Italian champions in Group H.
Injured Lukaku out
The injured Romelu Lukaku missed the 2-1 win at Bournemouth on Saturday and Marcus Rashford started on the bench as Jose Mourinho opted for a three-man forward line, with Anthony Martial and Juan Mata deployed either side of Sanchez. The former Arsenal man was instrumental in United's first-half equaliser, setting up Martial, and will be disappointed to have been substituted towards the end of the game. The match, won by substitute Rashford in injury time, was a rare high point for the Chile international, who has struggled to find his feet since arriving at Old Trafford in January — it was his first league start since September 22.
Following the win against Bournemouth, Mourinho praised Sanchez and spelt out his preferred system, saying he did not need a traditional centre-forward to lead his attack. "The way I like to play is with three attacking players where there is not a clear definition of the winger as a winger," he said. "And I always had that in my team, with the wingers scoring a lot of goals, sometimes even more goals than the striker," he said.
"So it's not impossible at all to have in the same team at the same time Rashford, Lukaku, Alexis for example. But Romelu was not available and we thought that Alexis could do what he did," Mourinho added. "What he did, he had a good assist, he had some mobility, he created some problems but then in the second half I knew that by having the two brothers on the bench, Rashford and [Jesse] Lingard, I knew that the brothers could come in and also make an impact."
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