Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has praised Alexis Sanchez ahead of Arsenal’s visit to the Etihad on Sunday.
Guardiola signed the Chilean from Udinese when he was in charge of Barcelona and the pair spent one season together, winning four major trophies.
Sanchez has since moved to Arsenal and established a reputation as one of the finest attacking players in English football.
His pace, power and ability to go past defenders makes him difficult to stop and he has scored 14 goals and assisted a further eight already this season.
Guardiola says he isn’t surprised by how well he’s doing but admitted he may have used him in the wrong position during their time together at the Camp Nou.
“Alexis has played in Chile and in Italy with Udinese and played really well in Barcelona,” he said.
“It is normal when you play with Messi that people think that he is not at his level, as the highlight is always Leo.
“But Alexis helped us a lot and played well. I think the position that he is in now, as a striker, is perfect for him, it suits him perfectly.
“In Barcelona maybe I didn’t help him too much as I like the wingers wide, and he can do that but he plays more between the lines closer to the goal.
“Some of the moments when he played as a striker, especially one game against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final when we lost in London 1-0, he played as a striker in the second leg and we went 2-0 up.
“It was an unlucky game, we lost and Chelsea arrived in the final. He played there, so he is a player that can play in several positions: left, right, central. He is a fighter with character and spirit, and he is a winner.
“He is a class, class player but now I think he is playing really well. With Chile he has won two South American cups, that shows what a good player he is.”
City face a run of four games in 10 days over the festive period, something Guardiola has never faced before.
He says he has sought advice from members if his backroom team who have Premier League experience, such as Mikel Arteta, who spent 11-and-a-half seasons as a player in England’s top flight before joining City as a first-team coach this summer.
“It is the first time in my life so I try to ask, to for example Mikel and the people who was working here for a long time, what is the current situation and you handle it because maybe next season I will know better what I have to do but in my thought now is next game, Arsenal, Hull, Liverpool, game by game.
“Now we are not in position to speculate too much in the sense that for many, many reasons, for the people we have, for the banned people, for the injured people, it is game by game, analyse the opponent, try to win that game and with the result and a little bit of confidence, you are going to improve.”
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