Sunday 25 March 2018

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho warns his players 'must perform' after Alexis Sanchez arrival

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez

Mark Critchley

Jose Mourinho has warned his Manchester United players that they must step up to the plate following the arrival of Alexis Sanchez.

Sanchez completed his move from Arsenal earlier this week with Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction and the 29-year-old is expected to slot straight into Mourinho’s starting line-up.

United’s signing of the Chilean may spell problems for the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, who now face high-quality competition for their places.

When asked whether he believed players could be forced out by Sanchez’s arrival, Mourinho admitted: “This is life in big clubs.

“In big clubs you have big players, you have competition, you have responsibilities, you have to perform always, you have to try to go to every competition in a serious way.

“You cannot do that with 11 players, it is impossible, so the players in big clubs know the squad is 20 something where everybody wants to play. What we cannot do is play 12 at the same time, start with 12 a certain match, but space for everybody and needed for everybody I think is absolutely fundamental.”

Mourinho went on to hail the “evolution” shown by the likes of Jesse Lingard under his tenure, but reiterated that he wants players to feel as though they have to fight for their place in his starting line-up.

“We want to improve all the time, do better and better and better, we want to achieve big things and will not stop until we do that.

“The evolution of the players is important, I’m really happy and have to say with some pride the evolution of Lingard, Martial, McTominay, these kind of young guys but you also need a combination with Matic, Alexis, people with more experience, with more know how.

The United manager added: “It is a very very important addition for us, now we have five attacking players of high quality – Mata, Rashford, Lukaku, Martial, Alexis and is fantastic for me and for the team. If the players one day are on the bench and don’t like it, I’m happy with that.”

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