LONDON: Ander Herrera claims Alexis Sanchez’s fighting spirit has already ignited Manchester United as the Chile forward prepares to make his Premier League debut for his new club at Tottenham on Wednesday.
Sanchez is the highest paid player in the Premier League after making a blockbuster move to United from Spurs’ local rivals Arsenal last week.
The 29-year-old marked his debut by setting up two goals in United’s 4-0 beating of minnows Yeovil in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday.
Sanchez paraded his sublime skills to lay on strikes for Marcus Rashford and Herrera, but it wasn’t just his deft touch that impressed his United team-mates.
Despite criticism of his attitude in the latter stages of his spell with Arsenal, Spain midfielder Herrera says Sanchez’s grit and desire have rubbed off on his new colleagues and are certain to prove a huge asset.
“What I really like from him is the way he fights when the team loses the ball,” Herrera told MUTV.
“He’s always ready to be the first defender for the team, and that’s big for us.
“Obviously we know his quality on the ball, he’s amazing, but his fight, the way he defends, he’s the first player to defend. I really like it.”
United manager Jose Mourinho, whose second placed side are 12 points behind leaders Manchester City, clearly agrees with Herrera about Sanchez’s catalyst qualities.
Sanchez has now been designated his own locker in the United changing room next to two specific players.
The pair on either side of the Chilean are Rashford and Jesse Lingard, and Mourinho is reportedly behind the decision.
It is believed that Mourinho wants Sanchez’s positive attitude to work to rub off on the youngsters.
– ‘Proper United player’ –
Michael Carrick, who captained United against Yeovil on his first appearance since September, has seen plenty of stars come and go in his 12 years at Old Trafford.
The former England midfielder was quick to hail Sanchez’s signing as a coup as he labelled the flamboyant playmaker a perfect United star.
“He is not bad is he? Not bad for a little man,” Carrick said.
“He is going to be a terrific player, he is a proper Manchester United player, and it’s great to have him here.
“He is so exciting and so dynamic. He’s always looking to create opportunities, to play forward and the fans are going to enjoy watching him, hopefully we will enjoy playing with him.”
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino has warned his Tottenham players that he is ready to act in the final days of the January transfer window.
Pochettino suggested recently Tottenham, who have not signed a player in the winter window since Dele Alli in 2015, would not recruit in January.
But after surviving an FA Cup scare to draw 1-1 at lowly Newport, Pochettino admitted Tottenham are considering making a move before the window closes on Wednesday.
“Of course we have some options,” Pochettino said. “We are going in the last few days to see if we can add players that add good quality.
“If not then it won’t happen. But it’s about in the next few days to see if we have some possibilities with some players.”
Tottenham, who are fifth, two points behind fourth-placed Liverpool in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League, have been linked with Paris St Germain winger Lucas Moura.
Asked specifically about Moura, Pochettino replied: “There’s a lot of rumours about different players and I never talk about rumours.
“But we’ll see what happens in the last few days.”