Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that he played Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez in the completely wrong position whilst managing the star at Barcelona.
Guardiola will again see his former player in opposition colours as the Chilean’s current club face off against the Citizens at the Etihad today.
Sanchez was by and large used in a peripheral role by Guardiola during their time together at the Camp Nou, but when utilised it was never through the middle – one Lionel Messi ensured that.
And Guardiola regrets not deploying Sanchez in a more effective position, highly praising the 27-year-old in the build-up to today’s encounter.
‘He played really good in Barcelona but normally when you play with [Lionel] Messi all the players behind him are not at his level,’ he said.
‘I think the position Arsenal are using him as a striker, in front, it is perfect for him. In Barcelona maybe I didn’t help him too much because he played wide. He can do that but he is better between the lines, closer to the goal.
‘In some moments he played there, especially one game against Chelsea in the Champions League semifinals. He played as a striker and after 40 minutes we went 2-0 up but it was an unlucky game and we lost and Chelsea reached the final.
‘He can play there and in several positions — left, right. He is a fighter in spirit, he is a character, he is a winner. He is a class, class player and now he is playing really well.’
Arsene Wenger’s decision to use Alexis as a forward instead of his usual wide role has worked wonders for the Gunners during the 2016/17 campaign, with Sanchez netting twelve goals from just sixteen appearances.
Now with a huge clash ahead of him, Sanchez will be looking to reinforce Guardiola’s belief that he made a huge mistake.
Callum Connolly, Pundit Arena.