Alexis Sanchez has admitted that he expected more of himself during the opening stages of his Manchester United career.
The Chilean, having arrived over the January transfer window, has only managed one goal and two assists in his opening ten games.
He was left out of the starting XI that faced Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend – the first time Jose Mourinho has dropped him since moving to Old Trafford.
And Sanchez, speaking ahead of Chile’s friendly with Sweden, noted that he was far from happy with his performance so far at Man United.
“As I am self-demanding, I expected something better,” he said.
“After my arrival at United, it was hard to change everything very quickly. I even hesitated to come here [to Sweden, with the national team].
“I had asked permission to miss these games, but then I thought better and spoke with Claudio [Bravo] and told him that we should all be united.”
“The change of club was something that was very abrupt – it was the first time I’ve changed clubs in January – but many things have happened in my life that are difficult.”
Sanchez’s familiarity with the Premier League and, as shown at Arsenal, capacity to deliver even during the dourest of performances led many to believe – including myself – that he would pick up from where he left off at United.
But this, on reflection, dramatically oversimplifies the whole situation. Moving to a club of United’s stature in January, without any chance to acclimatise in the way Romelu Lukaku or Nemanja Matic did during the summer, will always present stumbling blocks – especially with Mourinho still seemingly unsure over where – and how – to play him.
But as the Chilean notes, he knew it was not going to be easy. This is a man who needs the struggle. That is why he chose United over Manchester City. To him, the beauty of football comes not in victory itself but the process of overcoming hardship.
He has done exactly that before, and he will do it again at Old Trafford.