Despite contributing little in an all-round woeful Manchester United performance against Tottenham Hotspur, manager Jose Mourinho hailed Alexis Sanchez’s efforts.
Christian Eriksen was allowed to score for Spurs after just 11 seconds after a multitude of Man United defensive errors, topped off by a Phil Jones own goal later to double the home side’s lead.
It wasn’t the ideal Premier League debut for Sanchez in a United shirt. Initially, he failed to provide adequate support to Ashley Young on the left flank or Antonio Valencia on the right, switching between the sides and eventually playing through the middle.
“He worked hard,” Mourinho insisted at Wembley, “but again the transformation the game had, the game was not for him.”
“In the second half, I tried to give him a position where he could be closer to [Romelu] Lukaku but then he felt the need to drop too much to organise.
“But he gave everything, good effort and this is a good feeling for me to know that the player is available with that spirit.”
Sanchez wasn’t at quite such a poor level as others in the United side. There were moments where he looked bright and inventive.
However, he failed to grab the game and get United back in it. He needed help to do so, and with both Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic having one of their worst performances of the season, he and his fellow attackers struggled.
What was disappointing, therefore, was the inability to help out his defensive teammates. Young suffered, needing cover while he himself covered for Matic’s ineffective marking and positioning, and not receiving it.