Football

Herrera: Fiery Sanchez can spark Man United

Ander Herrera has claimed that Alexis Sanchez's fighting spirit has already ignited Manchester United, as the Chile forward prepares to make his English Premier League debut for his new club at Tottenham tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Sanchez is the highest paid player in the EPL 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 new teammates.

Despite criticism of his attitude in the latter stages of his spell with Arsenal, Spain midfielder Herrera said that Sanchez's grit and desire have rubbed off on his new colleagues and he is certain that the forward will become a huge asset.

"What I really like about him is the way he fights when the team lose the ball," Herrera told MUTV, the club's in-house TV station.

"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."

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.

UNITED, A HAPPY CAMP

"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."

Meanwhile, manager Jose Mourinho has said that United are a "happy camp" after returning to winning ways following a disappointing run of results last month, buoyed by the signing of Sanchez.

After ending 2017 with three successive draws, Mourinho's side, who are 12 points behind leaders Manchester City in the EPL, have won all five of their games since the turn of the year.

"We have managed to win every match in January, three EPL matches and two cup matches, so five victories make a happy camp," Mourinho told MUTV.

"We are playing with a good balance. It is not easy to not concede goals because of the high quality of football in this country, but scoring goals and winning matches are very important because we need points.

"We are playing well and we deserved these results."

Spurs are eight points behind United and are facing a fight to get back into the top four, but Mourinho has no doubts about the quality of Mauricio Pochettino's side, who were runners-up last season.

"Spurs are one of the top teams in the country - not title contenders because they are too far away, but I say honestly they are contenders for the Champions League spots," said the Portuguese.

"They can reach that level. They have some of the best players in the country, a very good manager and are very difficult opponents." - AFP

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