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Matic sees Alexis as 'very important' to Man Utd despite struggles for form

18:22 GMT+3 26/01/2019
Alexis Sanchez Manchester United FA Cup
The Chilean was among the goals during a trip to former club Arsenal and is being backed to rediscover his spark after a testing spell at Old Trafford

Alexis Sanchez is “a very important player” for Manchester United, according to Nemanja Vidic, with the Chilean forward being backed to prove his worth.

Having moved to Old Trafford from Arsenal in January 2018, much was expected of a player who had starred during his time in north London.

The 30-year-old has, however, struggled for form since making a high-profile switch, with a distinct lack of end product seeing questions asked of his value.

Sanchez was back among the goals during a return to the familiar surroundings of Emirates Stadium on Friday though, with his effort helping United to see off Arsenal 3-1 in the FA Cup.

He is expected to build on the positivity generated by a fifth strike for the Red Devils, with Matic telling reporters of a talented team-mate: “Alexis has great character.

“He works every training session 100 per cent and I'm happy for him because when you work like that, in the game, you can't play bad so he is doing very well.

“He helps the team. He is a great guy. I'm happy for him because he must understand he is a very important player for us.”

Sanchez opened the scoring during a trip to north London, while further efforts were added by Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial as United made their way into round five.

Success in the capital means the Red Devils have stretched their run of victories at the start of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign to eight.

The Norwegian has breathed new life into a side which had been faltering badly under Jose Mourinho, with his tactical tinkering delivering rich rewards.

He had used video of past meetings between United and Arsenal to ready his side for a heavyweight cup clash, with some of his own performances from the past highlighting how the Gunners can be undone on the counter.

“He [Solskjaer] was in there!” added Matic.

“I think we prepared for the game really well. We analysed them. I think every person in the staff did a great job. We knew exactly what to expect. We knew what we had to do.

“We knew how we could hurt them so we used our chances and I think the preparation was great and this is the result of that.”

In-form United will be back in action on Tuesday when they play host to Burnley in the Premier League.