Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Three and Easy Could Release Strike Partners

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Three and Easy Could Release Strike Partners

Article excerpt

THERE was one question on everyone's lips after United's penalty shootout win against AC Milan - where has that Alexis Sanchez been hiding? Sanchez, who claimed he was 'mentally and emotionally exhausted' just three months after his move from Arsenal, looks full of energy and menace - and that is a dangerous combination.

You can tell the 29-year-old has been desperate to put those disappointing first few months of his United career right; it did not take Sanchez long to start sprinting on the beach while on holiday in Brazil after a rare summer off from playing in an international tournament.

And following his visa mishap, when things could have worked out very differently - imagine if Sanchez had not played until August 5? - he is making his presence felt on tour in the US.

The confidence and swagger are back, and Sanchez has not held back when rebuking a team-mate he feels is not pulling his weight. Even in a pre-season game.

While that alienated him at Arsenal, so many of that United squad share his mentality. It was telling how Juan Mata and Ander Herrera had a singsong with their fellow Spanish speaker on the bus journey back to their hotel after the Milan win.

So how can Jose Mourinho get the best out of him and improve Sanchez's measly three-goal return in his first full season at Old Trafford? Sanchez loves playing out on the left but his best return, 30 goals, came while playing through the middle for Arsenal two years ago.

On the rare occasion Sanchez played there for United last season, he did not look all that effective. Anyone unfortunate enough to watch that goalless draw with West Ham at the London Stadium could tell you that.

But he did not have Romelu Lukaku up alongside him then and that burgeoning partnership is going to go a long way to deciding how serious United's title challenge is going to be this season.

Back in February, Ashley Young's eyes lit up in the mixed zone recalling the combinations he could see between the pair in training at Carrington. …

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