Under-fire Alexis Sanchez may be trying too hard to impress as he struggles to produce his best form at Manchester United, according to Old Trafford great Andy Cole.
The Chilean has netted just once in 10 matches and produced a number of under-par performances since completing a January move from Arsenal, and was left on the bench for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final win over Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford.
And Cole, who made 275 appearances for United between 1995 and 2001 having come through the Arsenal youth system, believes Sanchez may be forcing the issue a little too much as he looks to make an impression.
“Alexis Sanchez is a superb player,” Cole told Goal. “I think sometimes when you try too hard to impress, to give too much, sometimes it goes against you.
“Arsenal play a different way to United however you look at it. You have got to consider those factors when you look at it. The lad is playing the same way he did at Arsenal even though United are playing a different way but I’m sure it will turn around for him.”
United’s Champions League exit to Sevilla last week has cast a huge shadow over their season. And, while many have pointed to the way Jose Mourinho set his side up in the second leg at Old Trafford, Cole believes it was their first-leg performance which most disappointed.
“You know what, 0-0 in an away game is a very tough result,” added Cole, who was speaking in Malaysia as part of Cadbury’s latest partnership with the English Premier League. “A lot of people will say that is a good result but it’s not.
“In that competition, in my time under Sir Alex Ferguson, he always believes in getting an away goal because it counts double. So 0-0 is a dangerous position. People will talk about Sevilla not having a goal-scorer but it doesn’t really matter, Sevilla made a substitution and they got two goals.
“Once you concede an away goal you’re up against it. I don’t think it’s something that Manchester United fans want to see at the moment. Hopefully come next season Mourinho will be able to turn it around, with more chances, more goals and more excitement.”
Cole also suggested that judgement of Mourinho’s United spell so far has been heavily conditioned by the runaway success of Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, and it might not get any easier for the Portuguese.
“Every team has got to judge themselves against Manchester City, who have been fantastic. It’s a difficult one to judge.
“I saw Mourinho’s quotes about City having another go in the summer and it will be even tougher to close the gap. If I’m a Man Utd fan it would be a difficult pill to swallow. Everyone has got the opportunity to improve next season and everyone wants to close the gap.
“If you’re saying that City are going to elevate themselves even further, then everyone else might as well just not bother!”