Alexis Sanchez confirms injury story that will further frustrate Man United fans
Not a word many Manchester United fans would associate with Alexis Sanchez and his time at Old Trafford.
The Chilean got off to a tepid start on his United debut, 13 months ago, against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup. On Tuesday, on the loftier Champions League stage, he put in a similarly off-key performance against PSG.
Sanchez was sprung from the bench with Juan Mata after injuries robbed United of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard. He had the ball at his feet 16 times, found a teammate with 12 of 14 passes and lost possession on two more occasions with unsuccessful dribbles. There were no incisive passes, chances created or shots on (or off) target in his spell on the pitch.
Indeed, the biggest cheer of the night Sanchez got was when he accidentally clashed with a linseman as he was warming up on the sideline, before he came on. The Paris Saint Germain supporters loved that one.
Sanchez & the linesman just collided. I really hope that was caught on camera
— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) February 12, 2019
Sanchez looked off-pace, off-colour and out of ideas. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been credited for upping the performances levels of key players like Paul Pogba, Martial, Marcus Rashford and Victor Lindelof since he was appointed caretaker manager but Sanchez remains superglued Rubix cube.
United are reportedly paying £14m a year for the services of the former Barcelona and Arsenal attacker but they are getting nothing like their money's worth.
Ahead of United's FA Cup encounter with Chelsea, Sanchez and teammate Ander Herrera were both interviewed by the BBC. The 30-year-old confirmed that linesman collision story and revealed he had told sub goalkeeper Sergio Romero, but no-one else on the bench, that he had picked up a sore knock. He commented:
"The referee's assistant, when we had a counter-attack, came flying down the line, and I had my foot there and he crashed into me. Bang.
"And I went back to the dugout and I said to Sergio Romero, 'I've just been whacked and I'm about to go on'.
"I've got bruising but that's not an excuse for not being on my game in the way that I normally am."
It is understandable that Sanchez may have been nervous about informing Solskjaer that he had been hurt, but the adult thing to do would have been to speak up and let someone take a look at his foot.
"I would like to have brought more joy to the club," Sanchez later admitted. "Yes, it worries me because I believe in my abilities as a player, I want to show it."
Herrera says Sanchez is the first of United's senior stars in the gym, midweek, and he backed him to make a positive impact in the season's run-in.
For United fans, gym performances and vows to the media are one thing. Performing like the Sanchez of old is another.