Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has likened Alexis Sanchez’s poor form at Manchester United to the agonising wait for ketchup to emerge from a bottle!
The Chilean attacker was ineffective once more as a substitute in Tuesday’s home Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain, leading caretaker-boss Solskjaer to proclaim that Sanchez needs to “find himself” out on the field of play.
But as United prepare for Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round trip to Chelsea the Norwegian has backed Sanchez to burst back to form soon, telling his post-match press conference that attempting to coax a performance out of the former Arsenal man reminds him of bashing a bottle of ketchup.
“He’s very talented, but of course there’s only so many things you can sit down and talk about and tweak,” said Solskjaer.
“If he could just get that goal I’m sure that would release his confidence. That’s what it’s about when you go through periods when you don’t perform up to your standard because we know there is a very, very good player there.
“It’s one of those things. You know that bottle of ketchup when it never comes, but when it suddenly comes there’s loads!
“When it comes, it comes. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
With Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard set to miss out for two to three weeks each with groin and hamstring issues respectively, Sanchez could well feature more prominently in the coming fixtures against the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and the return with PSG.
And Solskjaer admits he could do with the 30-year-old finding some form sooner rather than later.
“We need every player to perform to the best level. We are challenging to be top four, challenging against very, very good teams, so you need the players to step up now and you expect that at Manchester United at the end of the season. You always do well towards the end of the season.
“The players have had this little set back with the PSG game, maybe a reality check. Their pride has been hurt, and I’m sure they’ll bounce back on Monday.”
Meanwhile, Solskjaer has backed Paul Pogba despite his late sending-off against the French champions for a foul on Dani Alves when attempting to shield the ball.
“I know what his intentions were. He was trying to shield the ball, but it can look on VAR or TV like it’s a bad challenge, but Paul is one of them who uses his body really well. He’s unlucky to hit him there.
“For me it’s one of his strengths to shield players off and get away from people. But I’ve been speaking to him about how we move on from this.”