Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he is optimistic that Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez can help his side earn a Champions League spot for next season.
The former Barcelona forward – who made a brief cameo during Tuesday night’s UCL match against his old club – has been sidelined with a knee injury for the last few weeks, but is now being backed by Solskjaer to help the Red Devils to a strong league finish.
United have been struggling of late, but after snatching three vital points against West Ham on Saturday the Norwegian manager will be hoping Sanchez can produce some much needed goals in their remaining Premier League games.
As quoted by Manchester Evening News, Solskjaer spoke of Sanchez’s return from injury and his substitute appearance on Monday, saying: “Alexis has been injured now since March 1.
“So he’s been out for six weeks and it was important he got 15 minutes on the pitch for his mentality so he knows his knee is okay.
“He was close to getting a goal and had a couple of other instances that he showed his talent. Hopefully he can give us a good push towards the end of the season to get in the top four.”
As the majority of his forwards endure goal droughts, with Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial under particular scrutiny, Solskjaer may look to the 30-year-old Chilean when his side face Everton on Sunday.
Despite his injury woes, Sanchez has made 17 league appearances during the 2018/19 campaign and the experience he has as a player may prove to be the spark United need during their tricky run in.
As well as a trip to Goodison Park this weekend, Solskjaer’s side face title contenders Manchester City and fellow Champions League hopefuls Chelsea, during their end of season run-in.
4 – Manchester United have lost four consecutive away matches in all competitions for the first time since October 1999 – current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær featured in all four of those 1999 defeats. Recurrence. pic.twitter.com/OlHGuZgz5P
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 16, 2019
United struggled against an impressive Barcelona on Tuesday however, as goals from Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho condemned them to a quarter final Champions League exit.
For now, Solskjaer will have to put aside his UCL disappointment aside if he wants his team to play in the competition next season, and with Sanchez getting back to full fitness, perhaps the former Arsenal man can help push the Red Devils to a top four finish.