In case you didn’t notice it, Alexis Sanchez scored during the international break for Chile. Manchester United’s winger reached the 40-goal plateau with La Roja when he scored a goal during Chile’s 2-3 defeat to Costa Rica this past Friday.
If only the goal was the one thing Sanchez did during that game, though. Alexis also missed a penalty (with his team down 1-3), had a goal taken off the line, kicked the posts in frustration and spent most of the game fighting and arguing with his teammates. Things got to a point where Chile’s manager Reinaldo Rueda said Alexis “has to stop feeling like this”, making a reference at his current situation at Old Trafford. As if Manchester United had some of the blame in Sanchez’s recent poor performances with Chile.
However, there’s a silver lining here. The goal scored by Sanchez wasn’t pretty, but it was one where he showed his quality. Sanchez controlled a long pass with his chest, beat the defender for the position and, after a bounce, fired a shot from inside the box in a difficult position. That’s the old Alexis everyone wants to see at Old Trafford. He also looked active, demanded the ball, and tried to change things for his side, but unsuccessfully so. If you combine all of those things, the result is simple. Sanchez only needs to gain confidence to be the player everyone is waiting him to be for Manchester United.
It’s clear that Alexis hasn’t forgotten about how to play football. He has had a few moments of brilliance for The Red Devils this season, but he has been quite inconsistent as well. That’s a problem that has plagued him on the National Team, too. But in Chile, he feels wanted, respected, and important. In England… judging by what tabloids say, Alexis barely has any sort of communication with his teammates. That’s not positive, and needs to change right away.
Maybe scoring for Chile is what he needed. Maybe another good performance against Honduras this Tuesday (local time, Wednesday night in UK) will lift his morale even more. But one thing is certain. Sanchez needs to turn things around if he wants to remain at Manchester United for a long period of time. And maybe, the goal he scored against Costa Rica could be the beginning of this turnaround. That’s what everyone wants at Old Trafford.