Andy Cole still believes Alexis Sanchez can shine at Manchester United

Andy Cole is confident faltering Alexis Sanchez will eventually come good and show his true quality.

Signed to much fanfare from Arsenal 16 months ago, the 30-year-old has got nowhere near repaying the club’s faith and his eye-watering pay packet.

Sanchez managed just two goals across 27 appearances in all competitions for United in 2018-19, leading to widespread talk of the club cutting their losses this summer.

Treble hero Cole knows all about finding the net at Old Trafford and is confident the Chilean will bounce back, even if the current situation reminds him of Fernando Torres’ disappointing time at Chelsea after leaving Liverpool.

Andy Cole scored 121 goals in 275 appearances for Manchester United (PA)
Andy Cole scored 121 goals in 275 appearances for Manchester United (PA)

Asked if Sanchez will come good at United next season, the former striker told Press Association Sport: “That’s the million dollar question because there’s noises that he might not be there, whatever.

“Sanchez is a bit like the Torres thing. You know, when Torres left Liverpool and went to Chelsea, all of a sudden he wasn’t the same individual and left everyone scratching their head.

“I think the situation with Sanchez now has got everyone scratching their head.

View this post on Instagram

Fue una temporada muy complicada, pero ellos los fans, son los únicos que se merecen unas disculpas, te apoyan siempre a pesar de todo por este club. En lo personal, no jugué todo lo que esperaba, me lesioné de cosas que nunca me habían pasado. Hay cosas internas que la gente y periodistas hablan sin saber. Siempre fui profesional en todo sentido, ofrezco disculpas a los fans 🙏🏽 por no estar peleando cosas importantes, siendo que somos el Manchester United. Jugadores y Staff saquemos conclusión, si hicimos lo correcto y entregamos lo mejor de cada uno por esta camiseta... Estoy seguro que el Manchester United, volverá a ser el club, que algún día fue, con el señor Alex Ferguson. ⬇️ 🙏🏽 It was a very tough season...the fan are the ones who deserve an apology as they always support you no matter what happens. Personally, I didn’t perform as much as I was expecting because of unpredictable injuries. Press and people were speculating of things that were not even true. I was always a professional in all aspects. I apologise to the fans 🙏 for not be able to achieve our goals,Nevertheless we are Manchester United! Players and Staff are questioning if we were doing the right thing and if we were giving our best for this football shirt ... I'm certain that Manchester United one day will return to be the club, as it was in the old days with Mr. Alex Ferguson. 💪🏽....

A post shared by Alexis Sanchez (@alexis_officia1) on

“For what he was at Arsenal and then coming to Manchester United, you turn and say, ‘well, where has it kind of gone wrong?’ Because you can’t become a bad player overnight. You cannot do it.

“For some reason, I keep saying to myself he’ll turn it around. He will turn it around.

“If it’s at Manchester United we’ll have to wait and see but you just can’t become a bad player overnight because he has too many qualities.”

Sanchez’s form may have been the most startling but he certainly was not alone in a season to forget.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has struggled to get results since getting the Manchester United job permanently (Martin Rickett/PA)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has struggled to get results since getting the Manchester United job permanently (Martin Rickett/PA)

The season-ending 2-0 home loss to relegated Cardiff underlined the work required, with Cole highlighting the need for former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to get United firing in front of goal again.

“We don’t score enough goals,” he said. “Manchester United was always built on playing entertaining, galvanising football.

“The centre forwards score goals, the wide men score goals – and you do miss that.

For some reason, I keep saying to myself he'll turn it around. He will turn it around

“You do miss that because that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’ve got to score goals when you’re are Man United.

“So, no doubt Ole will look at that in the summer and say ‘right, where can I get more goals from?’, ‘where am I looking to strengthen in the summer?’’ and just go from there.”

The need for change at United is as clear as Cole’s support for Solskjaer.

Andy Cole and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrate scoring at Old Trafford (PA)
Andy Cole and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrate scoring at Old Trafford (PA)

“Ole is Ole,” Cole said. “For what I know of Ole, Ole has not changed. He looks like he is the same person.

“I saw him when he first took over as caretaker manager. I spoke to him and Ole spoke to me like Ole. It’s as simple as that.

“He didn’t speak to me like he was the manager of Manchester United. No, we spoke like we were team-mates.

“That’s what I like because sometimes people get jobs and they believe ‘I am on higher platform to you now’ or whatever. But, no, because we’re all equal.

“But to stand there and to speak to Ole, it was fantastic to look at him and say ‘wow, now your manager of Manchester United and fair play to you – you’ve done so well taking the job’.

“Yeah, towards the back end of the season it tapered off a little bit, but he’s got a big summer ahead of him and a new campaign he can look forward to.”

Cole and Solskjaer will have the chance to catch up on Sunday when they play for Manchester United Legends against Bayern Munich Legends at Old Trafford, 20 years on from sealing the Treble with a last-gasp 2-1 win in the Champions League final on May 26, 1999.

“It’s not something I’ve really thought about until the past six months,” Cole added.”I look back and I think to myself ‘Jesus, what I’ve been through’

“And 20 years later we have the opportunity to all show up together, most probably have this last game together after doing something so special 20 years ago, it’s just a great feeling. A fantastic feeling.

:: Tickets for the Treble Reunion game are available on 0161 868 800 or visiting www.manutd.com/treblereunion

- Press Association

More on this topic

Q&A on Manchester United’s summer rebuild

Manchester United confirm Daniel James signing

Wayne Rooney urges Solskjaer to buy 'five or six players who have got potential' in Man Utd rebuild

Swansea’s Daniel James to join Manchester United as clubs agree deal

More in this Section

Clubhouse leader Justin Rose searching for ‘extra gear’ at Pebble Beach

Airtricity League: Mandroiu strike seals Boh's unbeaten streak against Rovers

City have to settle for point after perfect start

Stephen Henderson resigns as Cobh manager after home win


Lifestyle

John McCarthy gives standout performance but Evening Train takes safe route

The Currabinny cooks celebrate the courgette

Cork city in the rare oul’ times

What next for Madonna?

More From The Irish Examiner