Jose Mourinho blames winter move for Alexis Sanchez's United struggles
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted he is not getting the most out of Alexis Sanchez and in part blames his arrival in the January window for his slow start to life at Old Trafford.
The Chile international has played eight times since swapping Arsenal for United in January, scoring just once.
He is set to start against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday as Mourinho's team look to move five points clear of their rivals.
But ahead of the clash, Mourinho admits the 29-year-old has not yet found his best form.
"What is wrong is that he came at the worst moment of the season, in the winter market," Mourinho told a news conference on Friday. "That's why I don't like the winter market very much.
"I think this was a chance that we didn't want to lose and we made.
"And for sure next season will be better for him. But of course he is learning how to play with us and we are learning how to get the best out of him."
Sanchez scored 30 goals in 51 games for Arsenal last season, including 24 in the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger often used him as a centre-forward, while Mourinho has tended to play the former Barcelona man on the left of his front three.
During the comeback at Crystal Palace, Sanchez played in a central role behind striker Romelu Lukaku and Mourinho hinted that he has not yet settled on his best position.
He added: "That's something that we can develop and we're going to develop with time, with experience and living these experiences together.
"I consider that a huge potential to be developed."
There have been suggestions Sanchez's problems have, in part, been caused by trying too hard to impress.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher said the forward "went wherever he wanted" during the 3-2 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday.
Mourinho, though, insists he has no problem with Sanchez trying to make things happen.
"That's great," he said. "He is not afraid to take responsibilities, not afraid to try things.
"When he feels that he's not as dangerous as he likes to be, he drops back, he tries things, tries to come to building up areas.
"When he makes mistakes he tries to compensate immediately the mistakes with fantastic spirit, with a great transition to try and win back the ball. We are very happy."
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.