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09th-Aug-2018

Sanchez magic can lift Mourinho's mood at Man Utd

By AFP, London


Manchester United need Alexis Sanchez to fire when they kick off their Premier League campaign against Leicester City on Friday as they seek to put a troubled pre-season behind them.
United's build-up to the new campaign has been dominated by manager Jose Mourinho's persistent grumbles over the strength of his squad.
Unlike most of Mourinho's stars, Sanchez had a first full summer off in nine years as Chile failed to qualify for the World Cup, ensuring he should be fresh enough to show why United handed him a contract reportedly worth a potential o25 million ($32 million) a year in January.
In his first six months at Old Trafford, Sanchez was a pale imitation of the player who dazzled at Arsenal.
The Chilean scored just three times in 18 games as United ended the season without a trophy. Despite finishing second in the Premier League they were a painful 19 points adrift of local rivals Manchester City.
Mourinho has bemoaned United's lack of transfer activity, criticised captain Antonio Valencia's physical condition and been involved in a standoff with Anthony Martial over the length of the Frenchman's absence to attend the birth of his second child.
But at least Sanchez has given him cause for optimism, scoring against Real Madrid and AC Milan in glamour friendlies, showing the drive, determination and decisiveness of old.
Mourinho even defended Sanchez after the forward cut a frustrated figure in Manchester United's 4-1 defeat by Liverpool in a friendly in the United States.