MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 13:07:04

Jose Mourinho backs "focused" Alexis Sanchez to improve

Mourinho backs Alexis Sanchez to improve
© Reuters
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho insists that he had no say in Chile forward Alexis Sanchez's decision to make himself unavailable for international duty.

Jose Mourinho has denied suggestions that he forced Alexis Sanchez to pull out of Chile's latest squad, while also backing the forward to get his Manchester United career back on track.

The 29-year-old has been omitted from La Roja's squad for friendlies in the Far East against Japan and South Korea - a potential 10,000 mile round trip had he been selected.

Chile boss Reinaldo Rueda hinted that United had exerted pressure on Sanchez to make himself unavailable, but Mourinho insists that it is a personal matter between the player and his national side.

"I didn't ask Alexis - and I never ask players not to go away," he told reporters. "I also never contact national teams for players not to go. It's a personal thing between him and the national manager.

"At the same time, coming from injury, Alexis feels that for him it is a much-needed two weeks off. He is still in conditions to play against Burnley but he feels that after that he needs two weeks to put himself in good shape.

"And because they are friendly matches in Asia, they made a decision for his good and by consequence for our good.

"I hope we can see Alexis play better. He had a good pre-season and had a good start to the season. Let's see from now. He is committed, he is focused. He works hard. I believe he will improve."

Sanchez has struggled for form and fitness since arriving at Old Trafford from Arsenal in January on £400,000-a-week wages.


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Alexis Sanchez in action for Manchester United on August 10, 2018
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