Alexis laughs off clash with assistant referee
Alexis Sanchez has laughed off the incident in midweek, when he collided with an assistant referee, as he insists he feels fit and is eagerly anticipating the clash with Chelsea.
Ahead of the in the Emirates FA Cup fifth-round tie, the Chilean clearly has a special affinity with the competition, having won it twice, and scored in the previous round against his former club Arsenal, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Reds swept to a 3-1 success.
This latest return to the capital represents another huge examination of United's trophy pretensions but Alexis is not troubled by Tuesday’s clash on the touchline, despite claims he could miss the Stamford Bridge game because of it.
”At one point, I was warming up, stretching out my leg and watching the game at the same time. We had a quick breakaway and the linesman was coming from here and, suddenly, I looked up and ‘bang!’ And I went: ‘Ouch!’
“Before coming on in the game against PSG, I was warming up on the touchline and I always warm up on the other side because, as a rule, there aren’t any assistant referees on that side," he explained to MUTV.
“In the Champions League, they change sides.
“And I was about to go on because it looked as if Jesse Lingard was struggling. The pain was killing me. I said to myself ‘Lingard’s injured, and now I’m about to get injured myself! No way, it can’t be!'
“I went into the dressing room and got loose quickly and, as I warmed up, they worked on my leg, here. But it wasn’t an excuse for coming on in this game. It’s just now an anecdote about something that had never happened to me before in my life. It’s just something that is very funny.
”It’s okay now. It was okay for me to play on it and it’s not an excuse for not being at my best. It was quite a hard knock but it was fine for me to come on.
Highlights: Arsenal 1 United 3Video
Alexis remains upset with the 2-0 first leg defeat to PSG in the Champions League round of 16. The substitute feels we reacted badly to conceding first against the French side and just needed some time to clear our heads.
“I think that when they scored the first goal, when that goal went in, I turned around and I noticed my team-mates, and their eyes, and, straight away, there was something that didn’t seem right to me, something that wasn’t the same as in the first half,” he recalled.
“It was like the goal brought everyone down. The first goal is very hard on the team and the attitude. When you’re playing in the Champions League, and, in my life, I’ve played a lot in the Champions League, with Barcelona, with Arsenal, these games are all about 90 minutes.
”And so, up here [in your head], you need to be fresh, 90 minutes, fresh, here. One second not fresh and you're punished. With the first goal, I looked at my team mates, and I said something’s not quite right
“It’s just, at the moment, I wanted us to do like they do in basketball, where you stop everything and get everyone together and says, ‘We can win this We’re going to win this game! We played Burnley and were 2-0 down and nearly won it. We’ve played other teams and been 2-0 down and then come back to win 3-2. We’re Manchester United!
”We’re playing at home! Let’s keep calm! Come on, we’re going to win this!’ But at 1-0, we were a bit flat and, after that, our play was different to the first half. And my touch on the ball wasn’t that great either.
Alexis will hope to put things right at Chelsea as the Reds face a tough assignment at the Bridge, especially give that replays are no longer required at this stage so the option of taking the Blues back to Old Trafford is not possible.He may have scored in two finals for the Gunners, once against Chelsea, but also has extremely fond memories of heading the Reds’ equaliser past Tottenham Hotspur in last season’s semi-final at Wembley, one of his finest performances since joining the club last year.
“I think it’s a top competition and I’ve also played in it on many occasions,”he added.
“We had the final last season against Chelsea. I think we all really hope we can go a long way in the competition, and then get to the final once again, and I’m keen for us to be able to go on and win it.
“The thing that comes to mind is my goal at Wembley against Tottenham. It was a nice goal, we were 1-0 down at the time. Then Paul Pogba won the ball and put in a cross for me and I managed to head it in at the far post. It was such a great moment because the United fans were right on top of us and it was a lovely moment to be able to celebrate along with them.I think it will be a very exciting game [at Stamford Bridge], a very important one. As I always say, we are United and we have to set out win wherever we play. There’s no other option but to go all out for the victory.
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