MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Manchester United are struggling to get the best out of Alexis Sanchez since the Chile forward joined the club from Arsenal in the January transfer window, manager Jose Mourinho said on Friday as his team prepared to face Liverpool.
Sanchez has scored once — tucking away the rebound after his penalty against Huddersfield Town was saved — and has two assists in eight starts since moving to Old Trafford in a swap deal with midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Asked if second-placed United, who host Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday, were getting the best out of Sanchez, Mourinho told reporters: ‘No. What is wrong is that he came at the worst moment of the season, in the winter market.
“That’s why I don’t like the winter market very much, but this was a chance we didn’t want to lose. Next season will be better for him, but he is learning how to play with us and we are learning how to get the best out of him.”
Mourinho has played Sanchez on the left, through the middle and on the right as he tries to find his best position but the 29-year-old has yet to capture the form he showed at Arsenal.
Despite not firing on all cylinders, Mourinho said Sanchez was content as the team have been winning.
“He’s fine. He’s happy that the team are getting results. Lately he was unhappy when we lost matches with him, but he’s a guy with great maturity and attitude,” the Portuguese coach was quoted as saying by British media.
“He’s not afraid to take responsibility. When he feels he’s not as dangerous as he likes to be, he drops back and tries things. When he makes mistakes, he tries to compensate with fantastic spirit to try to win back the ball.”
Some analysts have said that Mourinho’s efforts to fit Sanchez into United’s formation had created difficulties in other parts of the team and affected the form of United’s record signing Paul Pogba but the coach dismissed the suggestion.
“That’s something that we can develop and we’re going to develop with time, with experience and living these experiences together,” said Mourinho. “I don’t consider that a weakness, I consider that a huge potential to be developed.”
Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Peter Rutherford