The Manchester United fans have been drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern this week since their side were dumped out of the Champions League by Sevilla at Old Trafford.
In the past two decades, Manchester United have established a global reputation for being a side who consistently adopt an exciting style of attacking football, but after their abject performance against Sevilla on Tuesday evening it seems they are currently experiencing an identity crisis. After coming away from the first-leg with a 0-0 draw, the stage was set for United to grab the tie by the scruff of the neck and storm to a confident victory in-front of their expectant home supporters. However, United were following the course of a different script, as they were eliminated from the Champions League with no more than a whimper after suffering a 2-1 defeat.
The performance shocked the United supporters and the rest of the footballing world, but it’s crucial that the players quickly move on from their European disappointment and ensure they improve for their next fixture in the FA Cup. United are at home once again today for their domestic cup tie as they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Old Trafford for a quarter-final clash which carries a huge level of importance for The Red Devils.
The FA Cup is the last remaining trophy which United can realistically aspire to win this season following their Champions League exit, so Mourinho must begin re-writing the wrongs of Tuesday evening by making a bold decision to drop Alexis Sanchez (valued at £63 million by Transfermarkt) today. There was huge hype around the club when United beat their local-rivals Manchester City to the signature of the Chile international in the January transfer window, but the hype has rapidly turned into disappointment during his short career with the club so far.
On the surface it looks as if Sanchez is trying extremely hard to make things happen when he is selected, but nothing is coming off for him at the moment. Mourinho has consistently attempted to find a way to incorporate Sanchez into his line-up, at the expense of his other attacking players, to no great effect so far.
His decision to play Sanchez on the left-side of his midfield has proven unfruitful in the last two months, so it’s about time he allowed either Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial to adopt this position. It’s still early days in Sanchez’s career at Old Trafford and it would take a fool to write him off just yet, but it’s clear that things aren’t going his way right now, so Mourinho should take note of that and bench him this afternoon for the overall benefit of his team.