Alexis Sanchez’s failure to succeed at Manchester United was not entirely down to the player, according to Pep Guardiola.
The Manchester City manager tried to bring Sanchez to the Etihad Stadium but was pipped to his signature by their rivals, who signed him in the 2018 winter window.
The Chilean scored just five goals in 45 games during a disastrous 18 months at Old Trafford and has now been loaned to Inter Milan but Guardiola believes the failed spell is not only down to Sanchez.
“You judge it was a failure for just Alexis, but there are many reasons,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.
“Quality is there. It is always there. It is not only for one player that doesn’t work with one team. They don’t play alone, it’s not tennis, it’s not golf.
“You play with 10 players against one system, against opponents, against many many things are involved in one player performing well in the team.
“When one player I had in my 10 years as a manager it doesn’t work, I don’t say it’s because of him.”
Guardiola worked with Sanchez at Barcelona and came close to landing him from Arsenal in the summer of 2017.
The forward eventually joined United in January 2018 in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan after City baulked at the cost of the deal.
“I don’t know [if it would have been different for Sanchez at City],” said Guardiola. “Maybe he would have been bad too. I don’t know. The moment he decided to go to United was perfect.
“I wished him all the best here and personally and that’s all. I don’t know what happened, I was not there so that’s why I cannot give my opinion, but I am not thinking it is just for one reason.”
Sanchez will spend the next 10 months in Milan where he will be reunited with Romelu Lukaku, who left United for Inter in a £74 million deal.
The pair will work under Antonio Conte, who was appointed at the San Siro in the summer, and Guardiola believes the Italian is the right man to get Sanchez back to his best.
“We worked together in Barcelona I have a special affection as a player, of course, but especially as a human being,” said Guardiola.
“He’s an incredible, humble guy and a fighter. He decided to move Italy with one of the greatest teams in Europe with Inter right now, incredible manager with Antonio Conte and I’m pretty sure they are going to do well.
“Because the way I think Inter plays, it suits perfect for him. Play close to Lukaku and in this position I think he is going to have a good period in Milan.”