Jose Mourinho has urged Alexis Sanchez to do the basics right in order to lead Manchester United to glory – repeating a challenge he laid down to Paul Pogba earlier this month.
Sanchez headed a fine equaliser in Saturday’s 2-1 FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham following excellent work from Pogba to dispossess Mousa Dembele and deliver an inch-perfect cross.
Spurs led in the 11th minute through Dele Alli, but had their hopes of a first major honour in a decade crushed when Ander Herrera steered home on the counter-attack after the hour.
Sanchez was named man-of-the-match during the closing moments of a game that stands as a highlight among some tough early outings in a United shirt since joining from Arsenal in January.
“I’ll tell Alexis the same as I told Paul a couple of weeks ago,” Mourinho said, in reference to the France midfield’s game-changing brace in the Manchester derby.
“I cannot expect my players to be man of the match every match, I cannot expect them to score goals every match, I cannot expect them to be perfect every match.
“What I expect is a certain level that you don’t go below and that level is the basic things in the game.
“If you do the basic things and then in some matches your talent appears and makes the different that is fine.
“I am not waiting for Alexis in the next match to score again and be the man of the match and so on and so on.
“I just want them to be stable and, in Alexis’ case, next season gives him much better conditions to be a top player for us because I don’t like the January market.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 21, 2018
Having come from behind to beat Chelsea and Manchester City, while also getting the better of Liverpool since the turn of the year, this was another dogged and clinical showing from United at odds with the limp 1-0 defeat to West Brom last weekend that so irritated their manager.
Mourinho wants his players to push themselves to eradicate such slack displays next season after reaching the third cup final of his Old Trafford tenure.
“I think the players, they need to educate themselves,” he added. “Of course, with a little bit of my help but they have to educate themselves to face every game with the same mentality.
“If in the cups you can say, ‘Big game, I’m here’; in the championship every game means three points and we lost some points that we shouldn’t have.
“It’s not just about the score. I can imagine myself now after losing that match [to Tottenham], I would not be as upset as I was after West Brom, even with this being the FA Cup semi-final, because the attitude was good the players were good.
“They were focused, they were ready, they were confident to play and helped each other.”
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